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Full text of "Select extracts illustrating sports & pastimes in the middle ages"

TEXTS FOR STUDENTS. No. 23 

GENERAL EDITORS: Caroline A. J. Skeel, D.Lit. ; 
H. J. White, D.D. ; J. P. Whitney, D.D., D.C.L. 



SELECT EXTRACTS 

ILLUSTRATING 

SPORTS ©» PASTIMES 

IN THE 

MIDDLE AGES 

BY 

E. L. GUILFORD, M.A. 



• LONDON 

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE 

NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 
I920 



INTRODUCTION 

The difficulty before the compiler of these extracts has been 
one of selection. There are so many passages in English 
literature which suggest themselves that without going 
beyond volumes which are on almost everybody's shelves it 
would be easy to compile a volume illustrative of the Sports 
and Pastimes of the English twice or even more times larger 
than this. But that was not my object. I wanted to offer 
to the reader passages from the less known books, leaving 
to him the task of supplementing the information herein 
gained by pleasurable excursions into his own library. 
This will explain why Piers the Plowman and Sir Gawayne 
are quoted but Chaucer left out. Shakespeare and Spenser 
were omitted for the same reason, and the opportunity 
taken of quoting from the excellently quaint Diary of 
Henry Macliyn, which is a perfect treasure-house of infor- 
mation about Tudor London and the manners of the people 
living there. I would recommend readers of this book 
to study Henry Machyn closely, for but a tithe of the 
passages suitable for quotation are used here. 

Again, I have hardly touched on the ballad literature 
of these islands, which frequently contains references to 
sports, nor to the rich storehouse of Tudor plays. I offer 
no apology for printing three pieces of modern English. 
Wylie's history of Henry IV.'s reign is a difficult book to 
obtain, and is not nearly so well known as it deserves to be. 
The Mummers' play from Sorrelsykes retains the medieval 
flavour, and I know of no similar contemporary play pre- 
served for us at the time. The passages from Sir Gawayne 
and the Green Knight would be incomprehensible in the 



iv INTRODUCTION 

original, and I have therefore sought for and, I think, 
obtained the best modern translation of this magnificent 
poem. 

It will be noticed that such well-known accounts of 
games as those of Fitzstephen and Stow have been omitted 
from this volume. The former has already appeared in 
Professor Hearnshaw's volume on " Town Life " in this 
series and the latter in Mr. Coulton's " Social Life in 
Britain." The long account of Queen Elizabeth's entertain- 
ment at Kenil worth Castle in 1575 is omitted because it is 
well known through Scott. I have, however, included a 
dialect account of a small part of this incident. 

For the purposes of this book the Middle Ages end 
with the Tudors, and though perhaps the first forty years 
of the seventeenth century are a golden age for intellectual 
England, yet I always feel that with the Stuarts this 
country became sadder but not much wiser. Englishmen 
have always been fond of games of skill and chance, of 
hunting of all kinds, of acting and pageantry, and of dancing 
and music. To day we have simplified our games in pro- 
portion as life has become more complicated ; so that many 
of the pastimes of our ancestors no longer exist or, if they 
do, are regarded as anachronistic curiosities and studies fit 
for the antiquary. All the same most of our popular out- 
door sports and many of our indoor ones have very long and 
honourable histories. 

The broad division into indoor and outdoor sports at once 
suggests itself, but except for feasting and minstrelsy 
indoor pastimes were not very common, for we were 
essentially an open-air nation. I have divided my book 
roughly into three sections — the first containing the general 
and musical extracts, the second the outdoor sports, and 
the third the festivals and indoor games. 

I have to thank Mr. Kenneth Hare for his kind permis- 
sion to use extracts from his version of Sir Gawayne and 



INTRODUCTION 



the Green Knight, and Mr. Harold Armitage for a similar 
permission to use an extract from Sorrelsykes ; also the 
Secretary of the Clarendon Press for permission to use a 
passage from " Early Plays from the Italian," edited by 
Mr. R. Warwick Bond, and to the secretary of the Early 
English Text Society for permission to use passages from 
several publications. 

In order that this volume may be of service to those who 
wish to study the subject further, I have appended a very 
incomplete list of books containing accounts of games and 
other pastimes, also a short list of books containing 
illustrations of sport. 

E. L. GUILFORD. 



Books containing Accounts of Games, etc. 

"The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England." 
By Joseph Strutt ; revised by J. C. Cox. (Methuen and Co.) 

Brand's "Popular Antiquities." 3 vols. Bonn's Library. 

" Social Life in Britain." By G-. Gr. Coulton. (Cambridge 
University Press.) 

" Survey of London." By John Stow. 

"Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages." By 

E. L. Cutts. (De la More Press.) 

" Social History of England " in 6 vols. By Traill. 
(Cassell.) 

" Bibliography of Social History." By Miss Spalding ; 
published by the Historical Association. 

"English and Scottish Popular Ballads." Edited by 

F. J. Child. (Little, Brown and Co., Boston.) 

Books containing Illustrations of Games, etc. 

" The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England." 
By Joseph Strutt ; revised by J. C. Cox (Methuen and Co ) 



vi INTRODUCTION 



" Short History of the English People." By J. R. Green. 
4 vols. (Macmillan and Co.) 

"Scenes arid Characters of the Middle Ages." By 
E. L. Outts. (De la More Press.) 

" British Museum Reproductions from Illuminated Manu- 
scripts." 3 vols. 

"Shakespeare's England." 2 vols. (Oxford University 
Press.) 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Introduction - - - - - - ii 

1. Merry England. History of England under 

Henry IV (Wylie) 9 

2. Amusements. Hesperides (Herrick) - - - 13 

3. Amusements for all the Year. (Fifteenth-century 

MS.) - - 14 

4. Komances. (Fifteenth-century MS.) - - - 15 

5. Mummers. SorrelsyJces (Harold Armitage) - - 16 

6. Feast of St. Nicholas. Diary of Henry Machyn - 22 

7. Seekers after Neav Pleasures. England in the 

Beign of King Henry VIII. (T. Starkey) - - 23 

8. The Musical Character of the English. Hentzner's 

Itinerary - - - - - - 23 

9. Minstrelsy. (John Lidgate) - - - - 24 

10. A Minstrel. Piers the Plowman (Langland) - 24 

11. Minstrels. Household Boole of the Earl of Northum- 

berland - - - - - - 25 

12. Harpers. Handlyng Synne (Robert de Brunne) - 26 

13. Morris-Dancing. Anatomie of Abuses (Stubbe) - 27 

14. Dancing. A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse (T. Hey- 

wood) - - - - - - - 28 

15. A Medieval Athlete. Eclogues (Alexander Barclay) 29 

16. Hunting. Diary of Henry Machyn - - - 29 

17. Hunters and Hawkers. Coventry Leet Booh - 29 

18. Hunting. The Bohe of Saint Albans - - - 30 

19. Hunting the Fox. Sir Gawayne and the Green 

Knight - - - - - - 32 

20. Hunting the "Wild Boar. Sir Gawayne and the 

Green Knight - - - - - 34 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

21. Hunting the Wild Deer. Sir Gaivayne and the 

Green Knight - - - - -37 

22. Hawking. The Bolce of Saint Albans - - 39 

23. Fishing. Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an angle - 40 

24. Bear Baiting. (Laneham's Letter to Mr. Martin) - 44 

25. Horse Eacing. Syr Bevis of Hampton - - 45 

26. Outdoor Games. The Letting of Humours Blood in . 

the Head-Vaine (Samuel Rowlands) - - 45 

27. Football. (Chester Antiquary) - - - 46 

28. Hurling. Survey of Cornwall (Carew) - - 47 

29. The Quintain. " Knyghthode and Batayle " - - 48 

30. Cricket. The Sports and Pastimes of the People of 

England (Strutt) - - - - - 49 

31. Bull Running at Tutbury. " Ballad of Robin Hood's 

Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage " - - 49 

32. Quarter-Staff. " Ballad of Robin Hood and the 

Tanner" - - - - - - 50 

33. Lord of Misrule. Diary of Henry Machyn - 51 

34. King of Christmas. Becords of the City of Norwich 52 

35. Easter Day. (" Barnaby Googe ") - - 53 

36. Coronation of Queen Mary. Diary of Henry Machyn 53 

37. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Diary of Henry 

Machyn - - - - - - 55 

38. Pageants. Coventry Leet Boole - - - 55 

39. Marriage Festivities. Diary of Henry Machyn - 58 

40. Festival. Diary of Henry Machyn - - - 58 

41. Tournaments. H. Holinshed's Chronicles - - 59 

42. Indoor Games. Misogonus - - 60 

43. Chess. Booh of the Duchess (Chaucer) - - 62 

44. Chess. Handlyng Synne (Robert de Brunne) - 63 

45. Cheating practised by Two Gamblers acting in 

Collusion. Becords of the Borough of Nottingham 64 



SELECT EXTRACTS ILLUSTRATING 

SPORTS AND PASTIMES IN THE 

MIDDLE AGES 

1. Merry England. 

[J. H. "YVylie : History of England under Henry IV. This extract, 
though modern, is based on contemporary authorities, and the 
writer attempts to employ contemporary language.] 

England was then " Merry England," and sad and sober 
pleasure was not the people's creed. The brethren did not 
put in their weekly shot merely to dole groats to pittancers, 
or help the bedrid and brokelegged, or find poor scholars 
to school, or dower poor girls, or burn their soul candles 
round the corpse of a dead brother, or follow at his forth- 
bringing or 'terment. Such duties were soon relegated to 
chaplains, who were paid and lodged at the cost of the gild. 
The gildsmen lived for mirth, joy, sweetness, courtesy, and 
merry disports. Once every year came the Gild-day, 
usually on a Sunday or one of the greater feasts, when the 
brethren, fairly and honestly arrayed in their new hoods, 
gowns, and cloaks, in livery suit of murrey, 1 crimson, white, 
or green, would assemble at daybreak, and form up in the 
house or hall of their craft. In front rode the beadle or 
crier, in scarlet tabard or demigown. Next came the 
pipers, trumpers, corners, clarioners, coruenuisers, shal- 
musers, 2 and other minstrelsy, clad in verdulet, 3 rayed 
plunket, 4 or russet motley : and the craftsmen, mounted or 
afoot, moving in procession through the streets to the 
church where the chantry was appointed. They carried 

1 Purple-red. 2 Players on a musical instrument of the oboe class. 
3 Unknown. 4 Greyish-blue. 



10 SPOBTS AND PASTIMES 

with them a huge wax serge, 1 sometimes weighing fifty 
pounds, to burn before the shrine of their saint. Then 
began the morn-speech, communion or speaking together, 
which was usually held in the church while the Mass was 
proceeding, where the year's accounts were squared, the gild 
chattels were laid on the checker, points were promulgated, 
defaulters announced, new members enrolled, and the 
Master, Skevins, 2 Proctors, Dean, Clerk, Summoner, and 
other officers elected for the coming year. Thence they 
returned to the hall for the general feast, otherwise known 
as the drink, the meat, or the mangery. The walls would 
be hung with hallings 3 of stained worsted, and dight with 
birch boughs, and the floor overstrawed with mats, or a 
litter of sedge and rushes, that swarmed with the quick 
beasts that tickle men o* nights. The benches were fit 
with gay bankers, 4 before tables set on trestle-trees spread 
with board-cloths of clean nap. On these was laid a 
garnish of pewter or treen, 5 together with the masers, 6 
and silver spoons bequeathed by brethren since dead. Men 
and women alike brought their beaker of ale, and the poor 
received their share of the good things by the custom of 
the day. Each member was required to bring his wife or 
his lass, and the sick brother or sister had still to pay his 
score, though he might have his bottle of ale and his mess of 
kitchen stuff sent to his own house if he wished. If any 
disturbed the fellowship with brabbling or high language, 
the Dean delivered him the yard, 7 or fined him in two 
pounds of wax, to be paid in to the light-silver. The cook 
was often a brother of the gild, and skilled waferers 8 were 
always to be had for a price. When all had washed and 
wiped, the Grace-man placed them in a row with his silver 

1 Taper. 2 Stewards. 

3 Tapestry or painted cloth. 

4 Coverings, generally of tapestry, for benches or chairs. 

5 Wooden vessels. 6 Wooden cups or bowls. 
7 I.e., scourged him. 8 Confectioners. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 11 

wand, and the Clerk stood up and called " Peace," while 
prayers were said for England and the Church. 

The feast began with good bread and brown ale. Then 
came the bruets, 1 joints, worts, gruel aillies and other 
pottage, the big meat, the lamb tarts and capon pasties, 
the cockentrice or double roast (i.e., griskin and pullet 
stitched with thread, or great and small birds stewed 
together) and served in a silver posnet or pottinger, the 
char lets, chewets, collops, mammenies, mortrens, and other 
such toothsome entremets of meat served in gobbets and 
sod in ale, wine, milk, eggs, sugar, honey, marrow, spices, 
and verjuice made from grapes or crabs. Then came the 
subtleties, daintily worked like pigeons, curlews, or popin- 
jays in sugar and paste, painted in gold and silver, with 
mottoes coming out of their bills ; and after them the 
spiced cake-bread, the Frenchbread, the pastelades, doucets, 
dariols, 2 flauns, pain-puffs, rastons, and blanc-manges, with 
cherries, drajes, blandrells, and cheese, and a standing cup 
of good wine left by some former brother to drink him 
every year to mind. 

When the cloth was up and the boards were drawn, came 
the merrymakers and the hoy-trolly -lolly. They laughed 
and cried at the jesters' bourds, or the gitener's glee ; they 
watched the tregetaner's 3 sleight, or they diced and raffled, 
while the sautryours 4 and other minstrels harped, piped, 
gitterned, fluted, and fitheled a merry fit aloft. As they 
left the hall they gathered about the leapers and tumblers, 
or thronged the bearward and the apeward to enjoy the 
grins, mous, and gambols of their darlings, or formed a ring 
about the bearstake to see the baiting with the dogs. Or 
the summer afternoon would be spent in running a bull, 

1 Broth or soup. 

2 A medieval recipe for a dariol runs as follows : "Take creme of 
cowe, mylke of almandes. Do thereto aynen (eggs) with sugar, 
safroun and salt. Medle it yfere (mix it thoroughly). Do it in a 
eoffyn of two ynche depe, bake it wel, and serve it forth." 

3 Juggler or conjurer. 4 One who played on the psaltery. 



12 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

when the poor brute's skin was daubed with smear, its tail 
cut, and its horn sawn off, the sport being to goad it with 
dogs and sticks and see who could get near enough to cut 
a few hairs from its greased back. 

But the great diversion of our forefathers was mumming. 
Give them but free air and an antic guise, and they would 
mask and mime with all the seriousness of children at play. 
Every mistery must have its riding, and every gild its pro- 
cession. At Beverley on St. Helen's Day, the gildsmen 
dressed up a boy as a queen to represent the saint. One 
old man marched before her with a cross, and another with 
a spade ; the music played up, and the brethren and sistern 
followed the parade to church. At Candlemas, a man in 
woman's dress represented the Virgin Mary, and carried 
" what might seem " a baby in his arms, Joseph and Simeon 
walked behind him, and two angels carrying a heavy 
candlestick, with twenty -four wax lights. At York they 
showed the Vices and Virtues by means of the petitions in 
the Lord's Prayer, or they acted out the articles of the 
Creed, while the gildsmen in their livery rode with the 
players on the route. At Leicester the images of St. Martin 
and the Virgin were borne through the streets with music 
and singing, twelve of the gildsmen making up as the 
Apostles, each with his name stuck in his cap. At Norwich 
on St. George's Day, they chose their George and a man to 
bear his sword and be his carver ; two of the brethren bore 
the banner and two " the wax," and the rest rode with them 
in their livery round the town. The Norwich peltyers 
(skinners) dressed up " a knave-child innocent," with a large 
candle in his hand, and led him through the city to the 
minster "betwyxen two good men," in memory of St. 
William, the boy martyr,, to foster hatred against the Jews. 
At Canterbury every 6th of July, at the city march, a cart 
was drawn about the streets, showing a boy vested as 
" Bishop Becket " struck down before an altar by four 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES ^ 13 

other children, who played the knights ; and as the martyr 
fell beneath their blows, real blood was spurted on his fore- 
head from a leather bag, which was carried in reserve for 
use at a given signal. At Cambridge, the scholars of 
Michaelhouse 1 played a comedy in masks, beards, and em- 
broidered cloaks. In London, the brethren of the fraternity 
of SS. Fabian and Sebastian carried " the Branch " springing 
from the root of Jesse, dressed out with lighted candles, to 
the Church of St. Botolph, Aldersgate. On St. Nicholas' 
Eve (December 5th), the chorister boys of every cathe- 
dral, and probably in every collegiate and parish church 
where singing boys were found, ejected one of their number 
to be their "Barne-Bishop," or "St. Nicholas Bishop," 
and to rule the services of the church, in mitre, ring, gloves, 
cope, surplice, rochet, and full pontificals. He rode or 
strutted about the streets with his crozier borne before him, 
blessing the crowd, and collecting their pennies in a glove, 
with his canons, chaplains, clerks, vergers and candlebearers, 
till Childermas. 

Each season brought its ales, its may ings- round- the-shaft, 
its Piffany mummings, its Candlemas, Hocktide, 2 and Yule ; 
but Corpus Christi was the feast of feasts, when the gildsmen 
carried torches, candles, and banners around the Blessed 
Sacrament as it passed through the streets, and all the town 
turned out at sunrise to watch the annual play. 

2. Amusements. 

[Heurick's ffespcrides. This poem was published in 1648, and 
though really too late for inclusion here, yet on its merits is given 
a place.] 

Of Christmas sports, the Wassell Boule, 

That tost up, after Fox-i'-th'-Hole ; 

Of Blind-man-buffe, and of the care 

That young men have to shooe the mare : 

1 A college founded in Edward II. 's reign, and amalgamated with 
Trinity College at an early date. 

3 A festival celebrated on the Tuesday fortnight after Easter. 



14 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

Of ash-heapes, in the which ye use 
Husbands and wives by streakes to chuse, 
Of crackling laurell, which fore-sounds 
A plentious harvest to your grounds. 

For sports, for pagentrie, and playes, 
Thou hast thy eves and holidayes: 
Thy wakes, thy quintels, 1 here thou hast, 
Thy May-poles, too, with garlands grac't : 
Thy morris-dance ; thy Whitsun ale ; 
Thy shearing feast, which never faile. 
Thy Harvest Home ; thy Wassaile Bowie, 
That's tost up after Fox-i'-th'-Hole ; 
Thy mummeries : thy twelfe-tide kings 
And queens ; thy Christmas revellings. 

3. Amusements for all the Year. 

[Fifteenth-century MS. quoted in Sir Richard Whittingion by 
Besant and Rice.] 

At Yule we wonten gambol, dance, to carol and to sing, 
To have good spiced sewe 2 and roast and plum-pie for a 

king; 
At Easter-eve pain-puffes ; Gangtide 3 Gates did holy 

messes bring ; 
At Pasque 4 began our Morris, and ere Pentecost our May, 
Though Robin Hood, lyle John, Friar Tuck and Marian 

deftly play, 
And Lord and Lady gang til kirk with lads and lasses gay : 
Fra mass and e'ensong so good cheer and glee on every 

green, 
As save our walles, 'twixt Eames and Sibbes, 5 like game 

was neere seen. 

1 N.E.D. says quintain. 

2 Ale ? 3 Rogation tide, just before Ascension Day. 

4 Easter. 

5 Friends and relations ; the literal meaning of Eames is uncles. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 15 

At Baptist 1 Day, with ale and cakes, 'mid bonfires neigh 

hours stood; 
At Martinmas we turned a crab, then told of Robin Hood, 
Till after long time merk, when blest were windows, doors, 

and lights, 
And pails were filled and hearths were swept 'gainst fairy 

elves and sprites ; 
Bock and Plough Monday games shall gang with Saint 

feasts and kirk sights. 2 

4. EOMANCES. 

[Preface to anonymous translation of Colonna, a MS. of the fifteenth 
century in the Bodleian Library. Thornton Romances, Camden 
Society. This extract gives a list of those heroes whose deeds 
provided materials for the minstrels.] 

Many speken of men that romaunces rede, 
That were sum tyme doughti in dede, 
The while the God hem lyff lente, 
That now ben dede, and hennes wente, 
Off Bevis, Gy, and of Gauwayn, 
Off King Richard and of Owayn, 
Off Tristam and of Percyvale, 
Off Rouland Ris, and Aglavale, 
Off Archeroun and of Octavian, 
Of Charles and of Cassibaldan, 
Off Havelok, Home and of Wade, 
In romaunces that of hem ben made, 
That gestoures often dos of hem gestes, 
At mangeres 3 and at grete festes. 

1 June 24, Midsummer Day. 

2 From internal evidence it seems that this poem is either ver} r 
much altered in modernisation or is not as early as the fifteenth 
century. 

3 Cp. Fr. manger, to eat. 



16 , SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

5. Mummers. 

[Sorrelsykes, 1 by Harold Armitage, pp. 26-34.] 

Their play is old, and it is known by the curious title 
of "The Peace Egg." Antiquaries from time to time 
endeavour to secure versions of this ancient play by 
recovering from those who have taken part in it all the 
lines that they can remember. The texts vary in different 
counties, and in different parts of the same county, 
though they seem to have had a common source. The 
version adopted at Sorrelsykes for so many years that the 
memory of man runneth not to the contrary is the 
following curious medley : 

THE PEACE 2 EGG. 
Act I. 
Enter Actors. 
Fool : Room, room, brave gallants, give us room to sport, 
For to this room we wish now to resort, 
Resort, and to repeat to you our merry rhyme, 
For remember, good sirs, this is Christmas time. 
The time to cut up goose-pies now doth appear, 
So we are come to act a little of our merry Christmas here, 
At the sound of the trumpet, and the beat of the drum, 
Make room, brave gentlemen, and let our actors come. 
We are the merry actors that traverse the street, 
We are the merry actors that fight for our meat ; 
We are the merry actors that show pleasant play, 
Step in, St. George, thou champion, and clear the way. 

Enter St. George. 

St. George ; I am St. George, who from old England 

sprung 

My famous name throughout the world hath rung, 

'This village appears to be in Yorkshire. 
I.e., Pasqne or Easter. 



m THE MIDDLE AGES 17 

Many bloody deeds and wonders have I made known, 

And made false tyrants tremble on their throne. 

I followed a fair lady to a giant's gate, 

Confined in dungeon deep to meet her fate ; 

Then I resolved with true knight-errantry, 

To burst the door, and set the prisoner free. 

When lo ! a giant almost struck me dead, 

But by my valour I cut off his head. — 

I've searched the world all round and round, 

But a man to equal me I've never found. 

Enter Slasher, to St. George. 
Slasher : I am a valiant soldier, and Slasher is my name, 
With sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win more 

fame ; 
And for to fight with me I see thou art not able, 
So with my trusty broadsword I soon will thee disable. 
St. George : Disable, disable ; it lies not in thy power, 
For with my glittering sword and spear I soon will thee 

devour, 
So stand off, Slasher ; let no more be said, 
For if I draw my sword, I'm sure to break thy head. 

Slasher : How canst thou break my head 1 
Since it is made of iron, 
And my body's made of steel, 
My hands and feet of knuckle bone, 
I challenge thee to field. 

{They fight, and Slasher is wounded.) 
[Exit St. George. 
Enter Fool, to Slasher. 
Fool : Alas ! Alas ! my chief est son is slain, 
What must I do to raise him up again ? 
Here he lies in the presence of you all : 
I'll lovingly for a doctor call. 

(Aloud) A doctor ! a doctor ! ten pounds for a doctor. 
I'll go and fetch a doctor. (Going) 

2 



18 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

Enter Doctor. 

Doctor : Here am I. 

Fool : Are you the doctor ] 

Doctor : Yes ; that you may plainly see, by my art and 
activity. 

Fool : Well, what's your fee to cure this man 1 

Doctor : Ten pounds is my fee ; but, Jack, if thou be an 
honest man, I'll only take five of thee. 

Fool : You'll be wondrous cunning if you get any (Aside) — 
Well, how far have you travelled in doctrineship ? 

Doctor : From Italy, Titaly, High Germany, France, and 
Spain, 
And now am returned to cure the diseases in old England 
again. 

Fool : So far, and no farther ? 

Doctor : Oh, yes ! a great deal farther. 

Fool : How far 1 

Doctor; From the fireside, cupboard, upstairs, and into bed. 

Fool : What diseases can you cure 1 

Doctor : All sorts. 

Fool : What's all sorts ? 

Doctor : The itch, the pitch, the palsy, and the gout. If 
a man gets nineteen devils in his skull, I'll cast twenty of 
them out. I have in my pocket crutches for lame ducks, 
spectacles for blind bumble-bees, packsaddles and panniers 
for grasshoppers, and plasters for broken-backed mice. I 
cured Sir Harry of a hang-nail almost fifty-five yards long, 
surely I can cure this poor man — Here, Jack ; take a little 
out of my bottle, and let it run down thy throttle ; if thou 
be not quite slain, rise, Jack, and fight again. 

(Slasher rises.) 

Slasher : my back ! 

Fool : What's amiss with thy back 1 

Slasher : My back is wounded. 
And my heart is confounded, 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 19 

To be struck out of seven senses into four-score, 
The like was never seen in old England before. 

Enter St. George. 
hark, St. George, I hear the silver trumpet sound, 
That summons us from off this bloody ground, 
Down yonder is the way (pointing). 
Farewell, St. George, we can no longer stay. 
Fool : Yes, Slasher, thou hadst better go ; 
Else next time he'll pierce thee through. 

[Exit Slasher, Doctor, and Fool. 

Act II. 

St. George : I am St. George, that noble champion bold, 
And with my trusty sword I won ten thousand pounds in 

gold : 
'Twas I that fought the fiery dragon, and brought him to 

the slaughter, 
And by those means I won the King of Egypt's daughter. 

Enter Prince of Paradine. 

Prince : I am Black Prince of Paradine, born of high 
renown. 
Soon will I fetch thy lofty courage down ; 
Before, St. Ge'orge, thou departest from me, 
Thou shalt die to all eternity. 

St. George : Stand off, thou black Morocco dog, 
Or by my soul thou'lt die, 
I'll pierce thy body full of holes, 
And make thy buttons fly. 

Prince ; Draw out thy sword and slay, 
Pull out thy purse and pay, 
For I will have a recompense, 
Before I go away, 

St. George : Now, Prince of Paradine, where have you been, 
And what fine sights pray have you seen ; 



20 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

Dost think that no man of my age, 

Dares such a black as thee engage 1 

Lay down thy sword, take up to me a spear, 

And then I'll fight thee without dread or fear. 

(They fight, and the Prince of Paradine is slain.) 
St. George : Now Prince of Paradine is dead, 
And all his joys entirely fled, 
Take him and give him to the flies, 
That he may never more come near my eyes. 

Enter King of Egypt. 

King : I am the King of Egypt, as plainly may appear, 
I'm come to seek my son, my son and only heir. 

St George : He is slain ! 

King : Slain ! Who did him slay, who did him kill, 
And on the ground his precious blood did spill 1 

St George : I did him slay, I did him kill, 
And on the ground his precious blood did spill. 
Please you, my liege, my honour to maintain, 
Had you been there you might have fared the same. 

King : Cursed Christian ! What is this thou'st done 1 
Thou hast ruined me, and slain my only son. 

St George : He gave me challenge, why should I it deny ? 
How high he was, but see how low he lies. 

King : Hector ! Hector ! help me with speed, 
For in my life I never stood more in need. 

Enter Hector. 

King : Stand not there, Hector, with sword in hand, 
But fight and kill at my command. 

Hector : Yes, yes, my liege, I will obey, 
And by my sword I hope to win the day ; 
If that be he who doth stand there, 
That slew my master's son and heir, 
If he be sprung from royal blood, 
I'll make it run like Noah's flood. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 21 

St. George : Hold, Heetor ! do not be so hot, 
For here thou knowest not who thou'st got, 
For I can tame thee of thy pride, 
And lay thine anger, too, aside ; 
Inch thee, and cut thee as small as flies, 
And send thee over the sea to make mince pies, 
Mince pies hot, mince pies cold, 
I'll send thee to Black Sam before thou art three days old. 

Hector : How can'st thou tame me of my pride, 
And lay mine anger, too, aside ; 
Inch me, and cut me as small as flies, 
Send me over the sea to make mince pies, 
Mince pies hot, mince pies cold, 
How canst thou send me to the Black Sam before I'm 

three days old ? 
Since my head is made of iron, 
My body's made of steel, 
My hands and feet of knuckle bone, 
I challenge thee to field. 

(They fight and Hector is wounded. 
I am a valiant knight, and Hector is my name, 
Many bloody battles have I fought, and always won the 

same. 
But from St. George I received this bloody wound. 

(A trumpet sounds.) 
Hark ! Hark ! I hear the silver trumpet sound, 
Down yonder is the way (pointing). 
Farewell, St. George, I can no longer stay. [Exit. 

Enter Fool, to St. George. 
St. George : Here comes from post, Old Bold Ben . 
Fool : Why, master, did ever I take you to be my 
friend ? 

I St. George .• Why, Jack, did I ever do thee any harm 1 
, Fool : Thou proud saucy, coxcomb, begone ! 



22 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

St. George : A coxcomb ! I defy that name ; 
With a sword thou ought to be stabbed for the same. 

Fool : To be stabbed is the least I fear, 
Appoint your time and place, I'll meet you there. 

St. George : I'll cross the water at the hour of five, 
And meet you there, sir, if I be alive. [Exit. 

Enter Beelzebub. 

Beelzebub : Here come I, Beelzebub, 
And over my shoulder I carry my club, 
And in my hand a dripping pan, 
And I think myself a jolly old man. 
And if you don't believe what I've got to say 
Enter in Devil Doubt, and clear the way. 
Enter Devil Doubt. 

Devil Doubt : Here come T, little Devil Doubt, 
If you don't give me money, I'll sweep you all out. 
Money I want, and money I crave ; 
If you don't give me money 
I'll sweep you all to the grave. 

THE END. 

6. Feast of St. Nicholas. 

[Diary of Henry Machyn. Camden Society, 1848, p. 121. Henry 
Maciiyn was what we should call to-day an undertaker, and his 
diary, which covers a period of thirteen years (1550-1563), is of 
great historical value as furnishing us with the comments of an 
average Londoner on the events of a great and critical age. His 
spelling is quaint but of considerable philological value, for it 
almost certainly attempts to be phonetic. His interest in the 
amusements of his age renders him of great use to us, and the 
extracts here quoted are but a tithe of those on similar subjects 
detailed in his diary.] 

1556. The v day of Desember was Sant Necolas evyn, 
and Sant Necolas whentt a-brod in most partt in London 
syngyng after the old fassyon, and was reseyvyd with 
mony good pepulle in- to ther howses, and had myche good 
chere as ever they had, in mony plasses, 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 23 

7. Seekers after New Pleasures. 

[England in the Reign of King Henry the Eighth, by Thomas 
Starkey, E.E.T.S. P. 80, The Dialogue.] 

Ther ys a nother dysease, Master Lupset, also, wych ys 
not much les greuus then thys, wych restyth in them 
whom I callyd yl occupyd. I mean not thos wych be 
occupyd in vyce, for of that sorte chefely be they wych 
I notyd to be idul before. But al such I cal yl occupyd 
wych besy themselfe in makyng and procuring thyngys for 
the vayne pastyme and pleasure of other, as al such dow 
wych occupy e themselfe in the new deuysys of gardying 
and jaggyng of mennys apparayle, wyfch al thyng 
perteyning therto : and al such wych make and procure 
manyfold and dyuerse new kyndys of metys and drynkys, 
and euer be occupyd in curyouse deuyse of new fangulyd 
- thyngys concernyng the vayn plesure only of the body. 
Wyth al such as be callyd syngyng men, curyouse 
descanterys and deuysarys of new songys, wych tend only 
to vanyte ; and al such marchantys wych cary out thyngys 
necessary to the vse of our pepul and bryng in agayn vayn 
tryfullys and conceytys, only for the folysch pastyme and 
plesure of man. Al such, I say, and of thys sort many 
other, I note as personys yl occupyd, and to the commyn 
wele vnprofytabul. 

8. The Musical Character of the English. 

[Hentzner's Itinerary, pp. 88, 89. Paul Hentzner was a German, 
who in 1598 wrote a book known as his Itinerary, or "Journey 
into England." It was translated by Horace Walpole.] 

The English are vastly fond of great noises that fill the 
ear, such as the firing of cannon, beating of drums, and 
the ringing of bells ; so that it is common for a number of 
men that have got a glass in their heads to get up into 
some belfry and ring the bells for hours together for the 
sake of exercise. 



24 SPOETS AND PASTIMES 



9. Minstrelsy. 

[John Lidgate. This extract gives us a list of the musical instru- 
ments in use in the Middle Ages, as well as the forms taken by 
minstrelsy ] 

Al maner Mynstraleye, 

That any man kan specifye, 

Ffor there were Eotys 1 of Almayne, 

And eke of Arragon and Spayne : 

Songes, Stampes, and eke Daunees ; 

Divers plente of plesaunces : 

And many unkouth notys new 

Of swiche folke as lovid treue. 

And instrumentys that did excelle, 

Many moo than I kan telle. 

Harpys, Fythales, and eke Eotys 

Well according to her notys, 

Lutys, Eibibles. and Geternes, 

More for estatys, than tavernes : 

Orgayns, Cytolis, Monacordys. 

There were Trumpes, and Trumpettes, 

Lowde Shallmys, and Doucettes. 

10. A Minstrel. 

I Piers the Plowman, by Langland.] 

I am mynstrell, quoth that man ; my name is Activa Vita : 
All Idle iche hate, for all Active is my name ; 
A wafirer 2 well ye wy t ; and serve many lordes, 
And few robes I get, or faire furred gownes. 
Could I lye, to do men laugh ; then lacken 3 I should 
Nother mantill, nor money, among lords minstrels : 
And, for I can neither taber, ne trumpe, ne tell no gestes, 
Fartin ne fipelen, 4 at feastes, ne harpen ; 

1 Musical instruments, probably of the violin class. 

2 Confectioner. 3 Lack or want. 4 Play the fiddle. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 25 

Jape, ne juggle, ne gentilly pype, 

Ne neither saylen ne saute, 1 ne singe to the gytterne, 

I have no good giftes to please the great lordes. 

11. Minstrels. 

[Household Book of the Earl of Northumberland t a.d. 1512.] 

Rewardes to his lordship's servaunts, etc. 

Item. My lord usith ande accustomith to gyf yerly, 
when his lordschipp is at home, to his Minstrallis that be 
daily in his household, as his Tabret, Lute, ande Eebeke, 
upon New Yeresday in the mornynge when they do play at 
my lordis chamber dour for his Lordschip and my Lady 
xxs. ; and for playing at my Lordis Sone and Heire's 
chamber doure, the lord Percy iis. And for play in ge at the 
chamber doures of my lordes Younger Sonnes, my yonge 
masters, after viiid. the pece for every of them — xxiiis. iiiid. 

Rewards to be geven to strangers, as Players, Mynstralls, 
or any other, etc. 

Furst, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif to the King's 
Jugler ; . . . when they custome to come unto him yerly 
vis. viiid. 

Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gif yerly to the 
Kings or Queenes Bearwarde, if they have one, when they 
custom to come unto him yerly vis. viiid. 

Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyfe yerly to 
every Erles Minstrellis, when they custome to come to him 
yerely iiis. iiiid. And if they come to my lorde seldome, 
one in ii or iii yeres, than vis. viiid. 

Item, my lorde usith and accustomyth to gyf yerely a 
Dookes or Erlis Trumpetts, if they come vi together to his 
lordschipp, viz., if they come yerly, vis. viiid. And if they 
come but in ii or iii yeres, than xs. 

Item, my lord usith and accustomyth to gife yerly, when 
his lordschip is at home, to gyf to the Kyngs Shawmes, 
when they com to my lorde yerely, xs. 
1 Dance or jump. 



26 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 



12. Harpers. 

[Robert de Bpojnne, Handlyng Synne. Robert Maxmyng, of 
Brunne, or Bourne, in Lincolnshire, was the most skilful story- 
teller of his time, and between 1303 and 1338 he translated from 
the French two poems. One is called Handlyng Synne and the 
other is a chronicle by Peter of Langtoft, a canon of Bridlington.] 

I shall you telle as I have herde 

Of the bysshope seynt Roberde, 

His to-name 1 is Grosteste, 

Of Lynkolne, so seyth the geste. 

He lovede moche to here the Harpe, 

For mannes wytte it makyth sharpe. 

Next his chaumbre, besyde his study, 

Hys Harper's chaumbre was fast therby. 

Many tymes, by niglites and dayes, 

He hadd solace of notes and layes. 

One askede hem the resun why 

He hadde delyte in Mynstrelsy : 

He answerde him on thys manere 

Why he heldethe Harpe so dere. 

" The vertu of the Harpe, thurgh skylle and ryght, 

Will destrye the fendys 2 might ; 

And to the Cros by gode skeyl 

Ys the Harpe lykened weyl. 

Tharefore, gode men, ye shall lere 3 

Whan ye any Gleman here, 

To wurschep God at your powere, 

As Davyd seyth in the Sautere. 

In harpe and tabour and symphan 4 gle, 

Wurschep God ; in trumps and sautre. 

In cordes, 5 in organes, and bells ringyng. 

In all these wurschep the hevene-Kyng." 

1 Surname. 2 Fiend's might. 3 Learn. 

4 The symphan was a musical instrument. 

5 Stringed instruments. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 27 

13. Morris-Dancing. 

[Stubbe's Anatomic of Abuses, 1583. Furnivall's reprint, i., pp. 
147-8. Morris-dancing was one of the most popular pastimes of 
the Middle Ages, but it appears to have been discontinued for a 
long time, and has only revived during the present generation.] 

First, all the wilde-heds of the Parish, eonuenting togither, 
chuse them a Graund-Captain (of all miseheefe) whome they 
irmoble with the title of "my Lord of Mis-rule," and him 
they crowne with great solemnitie, and adopt for their King. 
This King anointed chuseth forth twentie, fortie, three- 
score or a hundred lustie Ghittes, like to himself, to waighte 
uppon his lordly Maiestie, and to guarde his noble person. 
Then, euerie one of these his men, he inuesteth with his 
liueries of green, yellow or some other light wanton colour ; 
and as though that were not gaudie enough, I should say, 
they bedeeke them selves with scarfs, ribons and laces 
hanged all ouer with golde rings, precious stones, and other 
iewels : this doon they tye about either leg xx or xl bels, 
with rich handkercheifs in their hands, and sometimes laid a 
crosse over their shoulders and necks, borrowed for the most 
parte of their pretie Mopsies and loouing Besses, for bussing l 
them in the dark. Thus all things set in order, then haue 
they their Hobby-horses, dragons and other Antiques, to- 
gither with their baudie Pipers and thundering Drummers 
to strike vp the deuils daunce withall. Then, marche these 
heathen company towards the Church and Church-yard, 
their pipers pipeing, their drummers thundring, their stumps 
dauncing, their bels iyngling, their hankerchefs swinging 
about their heds like madmen, their hobbie horses and other 
monsters skirmishing amongst the route : and in this sorte 
they go the church (I say) and into the Church, (though the 
minister be at praier or preaching), dancing and swinging 
their hankercheifs over their heds in the Church, like deuils 
incarnate, with such a confuse noise, that no man can hear 
his own voice. Then, the foolish people, they looke, they 
1 Kissing. 



28 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

stare, they laugh, they fleer, 1 and mount vponfourmes and 
pewes to see these goodly pageants solemnised in this sort. 
Then, after this, about the Church they goe againe and 
againe, and so foorth into the church-yard, where they have 
commonly their Sommer-haules, their bowers, arbors, and 
banqueting houses set vp, wherin they feast, banquet and 
daunce al that day and (peraduenture) all the night too. 
And thus these terrestriall furies spend the Sabaoth day. 

They haue also certain papers, wherin is painted some 
babblerie or other of Imagery woork, and these they call 
" my Lord of mis-rule's badges ": these they giue to 
everyone that wil give money for them to maintain e 
them in their hethenrie, diuelrie, drunkennes, pride and 
what not. And who will not be buxom 2 to them, and give 
them money for these their deuilish cognizances, they are 
mocked and flouted at not a little. And so assoted are 
some, that they not only giue them monie to maintain 
their abhomination withall, but also weare their badges 
and cognizances in their hatg or caps openly. 

14. Dancing. 

[Thomas Heywood : A Woman Kilde with Kindncsse, I. ii., 1607. 
Dancing has always been a favourite amusement for every age, 
and the number and variety of dances is legion. Some were 
acrobatic in nature— as the rope dance ; others were solo dances, 
or dances for two. The dances mentioned below appear to be 
" round " dances.] 

Jack Slime : Come, what shall it be 1 " Eogero "1 

Jenlcin : Eogero ! No ; we will dance " The Beginning 
of the World. 5 ' 

Cicely : I love no dance so well as " John, come kiss me 
now." 

Nick : I that have ere now deserv'd a cushion, call for 
the Cushion dance. 

R. Brick: For my part, I like nothing so well as "Tom 

Tyler." 

1 Make faces. 2 Jolly. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 29 

Jen : No, we'll have " The Hunting of the Fox." 

Jack Slime : " The Hay !" " The Hay !" There's nothing 

like "The Hay." 

Jen : Let me speak for all, and we'll have " Sellinger's 

Round." 

15. A Medieval Athlete. 

[Alexander Bauclay : Eclogues, published 1508.] 
I can dance the raye ; I can both pipe and sing, 
If I were mery ; I can both hurle and sling ; 
I rutme, I wrestle, I can well throwe the barre ; 
No shepherd throweth the axeltree so farre : 
If I were mery, I could well leape and spring ; 
I were a man mete to serve a prince or king. 

16. Hunting. 

[Diary of Henry Machyn. Camden Society, p. 292.] 
1562. The xviij day of September my lord mare and 
my masters the althermen, and mony worshephull men, 
and dyvers of the masturs and wardens of the xij com- 
penys, red d [to the] condutth 1 hedes for to se them, after 
the old coustum ; and a-[fore] dener they hundyd the hare 
and kyllyd, and so to dener to the hed of the condyth, for 
ther was a nombur, and had good chere of the ehambur- 
layn ; and after dener to hontyng of the fox, and ther was 
a goodly cry for a mylle, and after the hondys kyllyd the 
fox at the end of sant Gylles, and theyr was a grett cry at 
the deth, and blohyng of homes; and so rod thrugh 
London, my lord mare Harper with all ys compene home 
to ys owne plase in Lumberd strett. 

17. Huntees and Hawkers. 

[The Coventry Leet Booh, Part III., p. 690. E.E.T.S.] 
Wher-as in tyme past dyuers and meny of the In- 
habitantes within this Citie disposed to Bdlenes not hauying 
1 Conduit. 



30 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

xls. of freholde by yeire inordinatlie haue vsed to hawke 
and to hunt, kepyng haukes, greyhound es and houndes, 
spanielles, ferettes, heyes, 1 Targes, and other engennes, 
wherby all maner of fowles and beastes of waren and of 
chace be excessyuelie taken and distroyed, not ferying the 
penalties of dyuers and meny good estatutes maid by 
auctorite of parliament for the punyshement of the same, 
wherby moche idlenes and pouertie is greatelie encreassed 
within this Citie. It is therfor establisshed that no persone 
inhabited within this Citie ner the libertiez of the same 
frome hensfurth do presume to keep eny haukes, grey- 
houndes, or houndes, ferettes, hayes, Targes, or eny other 
engennes, ner do presume to hunt or to hauke with the 
same, oneles they may dispend xls. of frehold by yeire, 
vpon the peyne to rone 2 in suche penalties as be expressed 
in the seid estatutes and that to pay for euery tyme so 
offendyng vjs. viijd. to be levied by the shireffes, the on 
half to ther owne vse and the other half to the Comen box 
of the Citie. 

18. Hunting. 

[The BoJce of Saint Albans, by Dame Juliana Berners, 1486. The 
authorship of this extract is ascribed, on no authority at all, to a 
woman. Dame Juliana Berners appears to have been the Mrs. 
Harris of the Middle Ages.] 

Bestys of venery. 

Fowre maner beestys of venery there are 

The first of theym is the hert the seeunde is the hare 

The boore is oon of tho the wolff and not oon moo. 

Bestys of the Chace. 

And where that ye cum in playne or in place 
I shall yow tell which be beestys of enchace 
Oon of theym is the Bucke a nother is the Doo 
The Fox and the Martron and the Wilde Koo 

1 Net used for catching wild animals, especially rabbits. 

2 Run. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 31 

And ye shall my dere chylde other beestys all 
Where so ye hem fynde Rascall ye shall hem call 
In fryth or in fell or in forest I yow tell. 

An Heerde. A Beve. A Sounder. A Boute. 
My chylde callith herdys of hert and of hynde 
And of Bucke and of doo where yo hem fynde 
And a Beue of Eoos what place thay be in 
And a Sounder ye shall of the wylde swyne 
And a Rowte of Wolues where thay passin inne 
So shall ye hem call as many as thay bene. 

Merke well iheys sesonys folowyng. 
Tyme of grece begynnyth at mydsomer day 
And tyll holi Roode day lastyth as I you say 
The seson of the fox fro the Natiuyte 
Tyll the annunciacion of owre lady fre 
Seson of the Robucke at Ester shall begynne 
And till mychelmas lastith nygh or she blynne 1 
The Seson of the Roo begynnyth at Michelmas 
And hit shall endure and last untill Candilmas 
At Michelmas begynnyth huntyng of the hare 
And lastith all mydsomer ther nyll no man hit spare 
The seson of the Wolfe is in iche cuntre 
At the seson of the fox and euermore shall be 
The seson of the boore is from the Natiuyte 
Till the purification of owre lady so fre 
For at the Natiuyte of owre lady swete 
He may fynde where he goth under his feete 
Booth in wodys and feldis corne and oder frute 
When he after f oode makyth any sute 
Crabbys and acornys and nottie 2 ther thay grow 
Hawys and hreppes 3 and other thyng ynow 
That till the purification lastys as ye se 
And makyth the Boore in seson to be 
For while that, frute may last his time is neuer past. 
1 Cease.- 2 Nuts. • 3 Hips. 



32 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

The propretels of a goocle Grehound. 

A Grehounde shulde be heded like a Snake, and necked 
like a Drake. Foted like a Kat. Tayled like a Eat. 
Syded tyke a Teme. 1 Chyned like a Berne. 1 

The first yere he most lerne to fede. The secund yere 
to felde hym lede. The iij yere he is felow lyke. The 
iiij yere ther is noon sike. The v yere he is good Inough. 
The vj yere he shall holde the plough. The vij yere he 
will avayle grete bikkys for to assayle. The viij yere 
likladill. 2 The ix yere cartsadyll. And when he is com- 
myn to that yere haue hym to the tanner. For the beest 
hownde that euer bikke hade at ix yere he is full badde. 

19. Hunting the Fox. 

[Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight. Modern English version, by 
Kenneth Hare. Published by the Shakespeare Head Press, 
Stratford -upon- A von. 1918. Book III. This is the earliest 
mention of fox-hunting in English literature. A modern version 
has been preferred to the original, owing to the difficulty in 
language of the latter (14th century).] 

The Mass is sung to end, the pages wait 
The guests' arrival and upon them pressed 
The sops in goblets, while to the main gate 
The serving-men bring coursers of the best, 
For all that troop is to the hunting dressed ; 
Brisk is the earth with frost on stock and stone, 
And the great steeds impatient of arrest, 
And as with joy departed is each one, 
Out of his cloud-rack ruddy rose the mighty sun. 

When they had ridden to the greenwood side 
The hounds of their long leashes free they cast. 
A traverse way athwart the wood they ride, 
And through the horns they blow a rousing blast. 
A little hound that by a thorn bush passed 

1 The meaning of these two words is obscure. 

2 I.e., he stays at home near the kitchen. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 33 

Shrilly gives tongue, his fellows answer back, 
The huntsmen cheer, the rabble fall in fast, 
Hounds swift and lithe follow the fox's track 
As forth by many a difficult grove he leads the pack. 

He swerves, he backs, he doubles, oft he crept 
Beneath some sharp hedge, marking far away 
How fast drew on the hunt, then quick he leapt 
Over a spinney, leading them astray, 
And scaped the forest, and had won the day 
But that a beater's hut was stationed there, 
Wherefrom three fierce ones ran at him all grey. 
So to the woods again poor wretch in care, 
With all the woe in life and courage of despair. 

Then was it very bliss to hear the hounds 

When all the pack had view of him together, — 

Such outcry for his head, as from their bounds 

The clambering cliffs had clattered altogether. 

No gambler on his life would stake a feather, — 

Full loud they hulloaed when they came at him 

And, " thief ! thief !" cried, and in the greenwood tether, 

Those tattlers at his tail with eyen grim 

Hem him lest out again he dart from forest dim. 

By hollow, by hill, he leads them, over, under, 
He muddied well that stout lord and his train, 
He twists, he twines, lest he be torn asunder, 
And far he flies and sly creeps back again. 

■35- * * tt * 

Through fields abroad full fast the huntsmen ride 
And through a thicket dash ; the fox runs there beside. 
They met him coming through a full rough grove 
With all the rabble right upon his heel. 
With whip and spur forward that lord doth shove. 
Draws from his scabbard his brand, about doth wheel, 
Brandished and flung it, stark doth Eeynard reel, 

3 



34 SPOETS AND PASTIMES 

Scaped it, and thought to start back through the crowd, 

But fleeter is a hound his death to deal, 

All at the horses' feet, thick as a cloud, 

They worry one this cunning fellow snarling loud. 

Nimbly adown to earth doth that lord light, 

And caught and overhead bore high his prey, 

Thither the nearer huntsmen speed aright, 

To mark the brave hounds all aloud that bay, 

Faint the recheat 1 is sounded far away 

Till gathered is that company all whole 

Whose loud halloaing closes up the day, 

While all that ever bore bugle blows his dole, 2 

So merry do they raise the Mass for Keynard's soul. 

20. Hunting the Wild Boar. 

[Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight. Modern English version by 
Kenneth Hare. Published by the Shakespeare Head Press, 
Stratford upon -Avon. 1918. Book III.] 

Thrice doth the cock his matin bugle blow 

Ere that lord leaps from bed to quit the place. 

Mass over and the meat, away they go 

A little ere day sprang, dressed to the chase, 

They pass by the high towers the open space 

With mickle blowing of the merry horn. 

The hounds that through the woods must run their race, 

Mighty and fleet, beneath a bush of thorn 

They loose where a great crag shoots up beside the bourne. 

The hunt cheer loudly, and the brawling pack, 
Forty at once, unto the trail fall straight. 
Crag, valley, dale and hill give answer back. 
Hounds bay, horns blare, rocks ring, that beast to bate. 
There stood, from the steep height falFn sheer of late, 
A mound grown wild with rank copse round about. 
Well know the keepers who there lies in wait, 

1 The calling together of the hounds at the close of the hunt. 

2 The word in the original is "rurd," which means noise. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 35 

And while they beat the bushes, all that rout, 
Those with the bloodhounds swear that they will have him 
out. 

Then out he rushed, there is no more to say, 

And flung three men to ground, and forth is gone, — 

A fell wild-boar that, gone is many a day, 

Had quit the others to harbour there alone, 

— A beast unblithely met by stock or stone, — 

They sound recheat 1 and after drive pell-mell, 

But where he turned there's many a man may groan, 

Thrown to the earth, yet they entreat him well, 

Eiders, horses, and hounds full brave that beast to quell. 

Ofttimes he makes a stand with vicious eyes, 

Then the wood quakes to hear the hunters' " Hay !" 

But piteous are to hear the bloodhounds' cries 

Torn by wight so savage and at bay, — ■ 

Yet when the bowmen draw he dares not stay, 

— Though all their strength of arm cuts not his hide, 

Which is so rough it sends to splinters grey 

Whatever strikes it, — yet he starts aside, 

And wounds both horse and hound and many a man beside, 

For when he felt the shrewd and bitter stroke, 

He waxed all mad for battle and debate, 

Forth from his jaws the yellow torrent broke. 

Then many ran from him that chased him late. 

The lord on his light horse but laughed thereat, 

And lances after and doth his bugle blow 

Eight through the brushwood where the beast doth bate, 

The others follow sith the one doth go, 

And chide their fierce wild swine until the sun is low. 

The lord this while is faren over land, 

To drive his swine with bloodhounds by the brae, 

1 The calling together of the hounds before resuming the hunt. 



36 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

Who cruel bites their backs at every stand 

Till low in dirt and trodden mire they lay. 

Then come the bowmen driving him away, 

Spite of his teeth with yellow arrows flying. 

Then he takes water, and to bide his bay, 

Swims to the mid-stream where a crag is lying, 

And gains his den forspent, the echo round him dying. 

He sets his back unto the hollow stone 

And scrapes the flints and hideous clamour makes. 

He sets aloft his bristles up each one, 

While from his jaw the foam in fury breaks 

Which the wind catching, tosses thence in flakes. 

He whets his tusks, fit monster for a dream, 

And all men hold them far for their lives' sakes, — 

The^lord that God nor devil did esteem 

Alone leaps from his horse and wades into the stream. 

The silence falls on those beside the brook 

Who tremble for his life, watching afar, 

They count the moments and dare scarcely look 

Upon the water, a diminishing bar. 

His flourished brand they saw bright as a star, — 

Then the boar sprang and water o'er them spread, 

But he had marked him nobly at that jar, 

And through the belly drove it to the head, 

The boar went swiftly down the water so well he sped. 

Hounds bayed, men shouted and the horns blew clear — 

Then an old huntsman, learned of long date, 

Draws from his belt a sharp knife and a sheer, 

And rips one up this fellow, dead by fate, 

And all this matter shortly to relate, 

They lash the feet to a stout pole and strong, 

But the huge head with pomp and mickle state 

They mount in triumph to be borne along, — 

Then with no small content they quit the wood with song. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 37 



21. Hunting the Wild Deer. 

[Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight. Modern English version, by 
Kenneth Hake. Published by the Shakespeare Head Press, 
Stratford-upon-Avon. 1918. Book III.] 

The serving-men set tackle in accord, 

And truss the mails and see the girths are tight ; 

And not the last uprose that castle's lord, 

Away to the field ere ever it was light. 

They ate a sop so quickly as they might, 

Unhasped the kennel doors and called agood. 

Out come the sleepy hounds with tails upright 

Which huntsmen coupled, right as they well could, 

And so with bugle-blast away to the gay green wood. 

There were an hundred huntsmen, I heard tell, 
That rode unto the chasing of that day. 
Thrice do the bugles blare, and fierce and fell, 
And all aloud the mighty hounds 'gan bay. 
Up to the heights the beaters take their way 
To hiding-huts ; the deer that mark the quest 
Made all for the heights, but fruitless their essay 
For those the beaters fiercely back repressed, — 
Then shouting rings and echo glad in gay for-est'. 

They gave the harts their way, and let unchid 

The bucks bear thence their branching antlers wide, 

For 'twas their close-time and that lord forbid 

To speed one shaft where trod the males with pride ; 

But for the does they drove them from that side 

With, " Hay there ! Back there ! " from the mountain's brow 

To where through airy ways the arrows slide 

Sped by the bowmen, who are loosing now 

A shaft at every deer that darts beneath the bough. 

What ! but they bleed and die and shriek and wallow, 
Struck by the barbs full broad in every place, 
And hurtling in pursuit the fleet hounds follow, 
While with high horns the hunt comes on apace, — 



38 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

The cry goes up of huntsmen and the chase, 

A cry and clang as though the cliff should burst ! 

While at the beaters' hut, in little space, 

And stream and mountain as was plotted erst, 

They strike the few that 'scaped the bowmen at the first. 

So learned were the lads that held the vale, 
So quick the greyhounds running all so light, 
So many deer they left to lie i' th' dale 
Wherever eye might glance they met the sight. 
That lord, who sees his quarry nothing slight, 
Cries with pure joy that might not be withstood 
" Abloy I 1 Abloy ! " and drives the day to night, 
With horses trampling and with blasts full good, 
Ever away in bliss by merry linden wood. 

?fc %■ # $r Jf: 

And still by Wooded heath and hillock brown, 

Plying his craft , that lord wherever he came 

Enwrought such havoc, they raised to his renown 

A pile to wonder at before the sun went down, 

Of does and barren hinds and such-like deer. 

Then fiercely flocked that folk in at the last, 

And of the quelled a quarry made them there 

Whereto the best men hied them and full fast, 

And first, the fattest upon one pile cast, 

In act to undo them, them they overhaul, 

And at the assay they searched them, some that past, 

And did aloud unto their fellows call 

They were two fingers fat — the thinnest of them all. 

[An account of the cutting up of the carcases is omitted here] 
Men blow the Prys, 2 and loud they bay, the hounds 
Obtain their flesh, and then all homeward hie, 
And many a lusty note that eve abounds, 
And blast of horn, and that whole company 
Reach their fair castle as the day doth die. 

1 On, on. 2 Announce the reward. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 39 



22. Hawking. 

[The Boke of Saint Albans, by Dame Juliana Berners. i486.] 
Theys hawks belong to an Hmproure. 

Theys be the names of all maner of liawkes. First an 
Egle, a Bawtere, a Melowne. The symplest of theis iij will 
flee an Hynde ealfe, a Fawn, a Koo, a Kydde, an Elke, a 
Crane, a Bustarde, a Storke, a Swan, a Fox in the playn 
grownde. And theis be not enlured, ne reclaymed by cause 
that thay be so ponderowse to the perch portatiff. 1 And 
theis iij by ther nature belong to an Emprowre. 

Theis hawkes belong to a Kyng. 

Ther is a G-erfawken, a Tercell of a gerfauken. And theys 
belong to a Kyng. 

For a prynce. 

Ther is a Fawken gentill and a Tercell gentill, and theys 
be for a prynce. 

For a duke. 

Ther is a Fawken of the rock. And that is for a duke. 

For an Erie. 

Ther is a Fawken peregryne. And that is for an Erie. 

For a Baron. 

Also ther is a Bastarde and that hauke is for a Baron. 

Hawkes for a Knyght. 

Ther is a Sacre and a Sacret. And theis be for a Knyght. 

Hawkis for a Squyer. 

Ther is a Lanare and a Lanrell. And theys belong to 
a Squyer. 

For a lady. 

Ther is a merlyon. And that hawke is for a lady. 
1 I.e., the perch that is carried about. 



40 SPOETS AND PASTIMES 

An hawke for a yong man. 
Ther is an Hoby. And that hauke is for a yong man. 
And theys be hawkes of the towre, and ben both Flutid 
to be calde and reclaymed. 

And yit ther be moo Kyndls of hawkes. 
Ther is a Goshawke and that hauke is for a yeman. 
Ther is a Tercell. And that is for a powere man. 
Ther is a Spare hawke, and he is an hawke for a prest. 
Ther is a Muskyte. And he is for an holiwater clerke. 
And theis be of an oder maner Kynde, for thay flie 
to Ouerre and to, fer Jutty and to Jutty Ferry. 1 

23. Fishing. 

Treatyse of Fysshynge with an angle. Attributed to Dame 
Juliana Berners.] 

Fyrst ]?en yf a man wyl be mery and haue a glad spry 

spryt he must eschew all contraryus companye and all 

places of debates and stryves wher he my^t haue occasyon 

of malencholy and yf he wyl haue a labur not outrages he 

must the orden hym to hys hertes plesens with owt stody 

pensifulness or trauel a mery occupacion wyche may reioyse 

hys hert and hys spryit in honest maner and yf he wyl 

dyet hym selfe mesurably he must eschew all places of ryot 

wiche is cause of surfettes and seknes and he must draw 

hym to a place of swey t eyr and hungre and ete norysching 

metes and defyabul. 2 Y wyl now dyscryve the.seyd iiij or 

disportes and gamys to fend the best of them as wyll as y 

can. All be it pat pe ry^ght nobul Duke of Yorke late 

calde master of the game hathe dyscryved the myrthes of 

hunting lyke as y thynke to scryue of it and all J e other 

]>e greuys. 3 For huntyng as to myne entent is to gret 

labur. The hunter must all day renne and folow hys 

howndes travelying and swetyng ful soyr he blowythe tyl 

1 Obscure passage. 2 Digestible. 

3 Griefs, as opposed to " myrthes." 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 41 

hys lyppys blyster and wen he wenyt hyt be a hare 
fuloften hit ys a heyghoge thus he chaset and wen he 
cummet home at even reyn beton, seyr prykud with thornes 
and hys clothes tornes wet schod fulwy 1 sum of hys 
howndes lost som surbatted 2 suche grevys and meny of er 
to the hunter hapeth wiche for displesour of hem fat 
louyth hyt I dare not report all. Trewly me semy t pat f is 
ys not the best disport and game of the seyd iiij or> 

Hawkynge. 
Thys disporte and game of hawkyng is laborous and 
ryght noyous also as me semyth and it is very trowthe. 
The fawkner often tymes leseth hys hawkes f e hunter hys 
houndes fen all hys disporte ben gon and don Full often 
he cryethe and wystel tyl he be sor a thryst hys hawke 
taket a bo we 3 and list not onys to hym reward 4 wen he 
wolde haue ben for to fie. The wyl sche bay the 5 with 
mysfedyng fen schall sche haue the frounce 6 f e Key 6 f e 
Cray 6 and mony of er seknes fat brynget hur to f e souce 7 
theise me semyth be good profet but the be not ye best 
gamys of The seyd iiij or ' 

Fowlyng. 
The disporte and game of fowlyng me semyth most 
symplvest for yn the season of somer f e fowler spedyt not 
But yn f e most herde and colde wedyre he is soyr greved 
for he wolde go to hys gynnes he may not for colde many 
a gyn and many a snayr he maket and mony he leset, yn 
f e mernyng he walket yn the dew he goyth also wetschode 
and soyr a colde to dyner by the morow and sum tyme to 
bed or he haue wyl sowfrud for any thynge fat he may 
geyt by fowlyng. Meny other syche y can rehers but my 

1 Most probably. 2 Footsore. 

3 "Taketh a bowe" — a falconer's term for the random flight of a 
hawk. 

4 A term in falconry signifying " to attend to the fowler." 

6 Grovel in the dust. 6 Various diseases. 7 Obscure. 



42 SPOKTS AND PASTIMES 

magyf l or angre maket me to leyf . Thys me semyth 
fat for huntyng haukyng and fowlyng be so laborous and 
greuous fat non of them may performe to enduce a man to 
a mery spry^t f e wyche is cause of longe lyfe accordyng to 
the parabul of Salomon. 

Fyschynge. 

Dowtles then folowy th it fat it must nedys be f e disporte 

and game of fyschyng with an angul rode for all of er maner 

of fyschyng is also ryght labure and grevous often causyng 

men to be ryght wey th 2 and colde wyche mony tymes hathe 

be seyn the cheyf cause of infyrmyte and sum tyme deythe. 

But the angleer may have no colde ne no disese ne angur 

but he be causer hymself e for he may not gretly lose but a 

lyne or an hoke of wyche he may hayf plente of hys owyne 

makyng or of of er mens as thys sympul tretes schall teche 

hym so then hys loste ys no grevous. And of er grevous 

may he haue non But yf any fysche breke a wey from hym 

wen he is vp on hys hoke in londyng of the same fych or 

els fat ys to sey fat he cache not fe wich be no greyt 

grevous. For yf he fayl of on he may not faylle of a nof er 

yf he do as thys tretes folowys schall yn forme hym but yf 

f er ben non yn f e watur wer he schall angul and ^et at f e 

leste he schall have hys holsom walke and mery at hys own 

ease and also meny a sweyt eayr of dyuers erbis and 

flowres fat schall make hyt ryght hongre and well disposud 

in hys body he schall heyr f e melodyes melodious of f e 

Ermony of bryde 3 he schall se also f e ^ong swannys and 

signetes folowyng f er Eyrours 4 Duckes Cootes herons and 

many of er fowlys with f er brodys wyche me semyt better 

fen all f e noyse of houndes and blastes of homes and of er 

gamys fat fawkners and hunters can make or els fe games 

fat fowlers can make and yf fe angler take fe fysche 

hardly fen ys f er no man meryer fen he is in hys sprites. 

1 Probably a scribal error for magre = ill-will. 2 Wet. 

3 Birds. 4 A brood of swans. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 43 

How many maner of Anglynges \at fer bene. 

Now I haue lerned 30W to make your hemes x now wyll I 
tell 30W how ye schall vnderstende fat fer be vj maner of 
anglyng. Oon is at f e grounde for f e troute. A nother at 
fe grounde at an arche of a brydge or at a stondyng wer 
hyt ebbethe or flowethe for bleke Eoche and Dare. 2 The 
iij fl is with ovvt floote 3 for all maner of fyche. The iiij th 
with a mener 4 for the troute with owte plumbe or floote the 
same maner of Koche and Darse with a lyne of i or ij herys 5 
batyd with a flye. The v th is with a dubbed hooke for the 
troute and gralyng and for the principall poynt of anglyng 
kepe you euer from f e watur and from f e sy^t of fyche fer 
on the londe or els be hynde a busche or a tre fat f e fysche 
see yow not for yf he do he wyl not bytte and loke 
ye shadow not the watur as moche as ye may for hyt ys a 
thynhe wyche wyl a fray f e fyche and yf he be a frayd he 
wyl not byt a good while aftur. For all maner of fyche 
fat fedyt by the grownde ye schall angle to hym in the 
myddes of the watur and some deyl moyr be neythe fen a 
boue for euer fe greter fyche the ner he lythe fe boten of 
f e watur and the smaler fyche comenly swymmyth a boue 
The vj th good poynte ys when ye fyche byteth fat ^e be not 
to hasty to smyt hym nor to late. Ye must a byde tylle 
ye suppose fat f e bayte and the hoke be Avelle yn the 
mouthe of the fyche and then strike hym and fys ys for the 
grounde and fer the floot wen ^e bey thynke 6 hyt pulled 
softely vnder the watur or els caryed vpon f e watur softly 
then smyte hym and se fat %e neuer ouer smyt f e strynght 
of ^owr lyne for brekyng and yf he hap to stryke a gret 
fyche with a smayl lyne ye must leyd hym in the watur and 
labur fer tyll he be ouercome and weryd. Than take hym 
as well as ye may and be war fat ^e holde not ouer f e 
strynght of ^owr lyne and yf %e may yn any wyse let not 

1 Tackle. 2 Darse or dace. 3 Float. 4 Obscure. 5 Hairs. 6 Bethink ? 



44 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

hym on at the lynes ende stregiht from 30 w but kepe hym 
euer ]> e rod and euer hold hym streight. So pat }e may 
susteyn hys lepys and hys plumbes l with the helpe of 
yowr honde. 

24. Bear Baiting. 

[Laneham's Account of the Queen's Entertainment at Kenilworth 
Castle, 1575, given in a letter to Mr. Martin, a mercer of London.] 

Well, syr, the bearz wear brought f oorth intoo the court, 
the dogs set too them, too argu the points even face to 
face ; they had learn 'd counsel also a both parts : what 
may they be coounted parciall that are retain but a to sydc ? 
I ween no. Very feers both ton and toother, and eager in 
argument : if the dog in pleadyng would pluk the bear by 
the throte, the bear with travers w r oould claw him again by 
the scalp ; confess and a list, but avoyd a coold not that 
waz bound too the bar : and his counsell toold him that it 
coould be too him no pollecy in pleading. Thearfore thus 
with fending and prooving, with plucking and tugging } 
skratting and by ting, by plain tooth and nayll a to side and 
toother, such expens of blood and leather waz thear 
between them, az a moonth's licking, I ween, wyl not 
recoover ; and yet remain az far out az ever they wear. 
It was a sport very pleazaunt of theez beasts ; to see the 
bear with his pink nyez leering after hiz enmiez approch, 
the nimbleness and wayt of the dog to take hiz avauntage, 
and the fors and experiens of the bear agayn to avoyd the 
assauts : if he w r ear bitten in one place, how he would pinch 
in an oother to get free : that if he wear taken onez, then 
what shyft, with byting, with clawyng, with roring, 
tossing, and tumbling, he woould w r oork too wynd hymself 
from them : and when he waz lose, to shake his ears twyse 
or thryse wyth the blud and the slaver about his fiznamy, 
was a matter of goodly releef. 

1 Plunges. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 45 



25. Horse Racing. 

[Syr Bevis of Hampton. The story of Sir Bevis is one of tenth -century- 
Viking England, which has been metamorphosed by Crusading 
influences. It has been printed by the E.E.T.S.] 

In somer at Whitsontyde, 
Whan Knightes most on horsebacke ride ; 
A cours, let they make on a daye, 
Steedes, and Palfraye, for to assaye 
Which e horse, that best may ren, 
Three myles the cours was then, 
Who that might ryde him shoulde 
Have forty pounds of redy golde. 

26. Outdoor Games. 

[Samuel Rowlands : The Letting of Humours Blood in the Head- 
Vaine, 1600.] 

Man, I dare challenge thee to throw the sledge, 

To jumpe or leape over a ditch or hedge ; 

To wrastle, play at stooleball, 1 or to runne, 

To pitch the barre, or to shoote off a gunne ; 

To play at loggets, 2 nineholes, 3 or ten pinnes, 

To trie it at foot-ball, by the shinnes ; 

At Ticktacke, 4 Irish, 4 Noddie, 5 Maw, 6 and Kuffe : 7 

1 Stool-hall. — One player sits on a stool and another* takes the ball 
and tosses it with the object of hitting the stool before the occupier 
of the stool can strike it away with his hand. It only needs the 
substitution of a bat for the hand to arrive at the game known to-day 
as "French cricket." Stool-ball is still played at Alfriston and 
other places in Sussex. 

2 Loggets, or loggats, is a game similar to ninepins, but played 
entirely with bones. It is analogous to Kayles and cloish. 

3 Nineholes. — A board is pierced with nine holes, each bearing a 
numeral. The players stand at a certain mark and bowl a ball, and 
according to the value of the figures belonging to the holes into 
which they roll the game is reckoned. 

4 Tick-Tack and Irish are varieties of backgammon. 5 Unknown. 

6 Maw. — A card game x>layed with a piquet pack of thirty -six 
cards, by from two to six persons, who were divided into partners. 
Also called ' ' Five Cards. ' ' 

7 Ruffe. — A simple card game. 



46 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 



At hot- cockles, 1 leape-frogge, or blindman-buffe 

To drinke halfe pots, or deale at the whole canne : 

To play at base, or pen and-Ynk-horiie sir Jhan : 2 

To daunce the Morris, play at barley-breake, 3 

At all exploytes a man can thinke or speake ; 

At shove-groat e, venter poynt, 4 or crosse the pile, 5 

At " beshrow him that's last at yonder style " ; 

At leapynge ore a Midsommer bon-fier, 

Or at the drawing Dun out of the myer ; 4 

At " shoote-cocke, Gregory," 4 stoole-ball, and what not, 

Pickle-point, 4 tappe and scourge, to make him hott. 

27. Football. 

[A Chester antiquary quoted by Stiiutt : Sports and Pastimes of the 
People of England, edited by Rev. J. C. Cox, p. 94. With the 
extract compare the game of football still played at Ashbourne, 
Derbyshire, on Shrove Tuesday.] 

It had been the custom, time out of mind, for the shoe- 
makers yearly on the Shrove Tuesday to deliver to the 
drapers, in the presence of the mayor of Chester, at the 
cross on the Kodehee, 6 one ball of leather called a foote- 
ball, of the value of three shillings and fourpence or above, 
to play at from thence to the ' Common Hall of the said 
city ; which practice was productive of much inconvenience, 
and therefore this year (1540), by consent of the parties 
concerned, the ball was changed into six glayves 7 of silver 
of the like value, as a reward for the best runner that day 
upon the aforesaid Eodehee. 

1 Sot-cockles (French : hautes-coquilles) is a play in which one 
kneels, and covering his eyes, lays his head in another's lap and 
guesses who struck him. 

2 Unknown. 

3 Barley-brake. — A game similar to Prisoners' Base. 

4 The nature of these games is unknown. 

5 Cross- and- Pile. — Called "heads or tails " today ', tossing with 
a coin. 

6 An open space near the city. 

7 A lance set up as a winning-post and given as a prize to the 
successful competitor ; hence, a prize. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 47 

28. Hurling. 

[Carew : Survey of Cornwall, 1602, Book I., p. 73. Quoted by 
Strutt : Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, edited 
by Rev. J. C. Cox, p. 91.] Hurling appears to be the ancestor of 
the modern hockey. It was originally played by the Romans as 
a hand -ball game. 

Hurling taketh his denomination from throwing of the 
ball, and is of two sorts : in the east parts of Cornwall to 
goales, and in the west to the country. For hurling to 
goales there are fifteen, twenty, or thirty players, more or 
less, chosen out on each side, who strip themselves to their 
slightest apparell and then join hands in ranke one against 
another; out of these rankes they match themselves by 
payres, one embracing another, and so passe away, every 
of which couple are especially to watch one another during 
the play ; after this they pitch two bushes in the ground, 
some eight or ten feet asunder, and directly against them, 
ten or twelve score paces off, other twain in like distance, 
which they term goales, where some indifferent person 
throweth up a ball, the which whosoever can catch and 
carry through his adversaries goale, hath wonne the game ; 
but herein consisteth one of Hercules his labours, for he 
that is once possessed of the ball, hath his contrary mate 
waiting at inches and assaying to lay hold upon him, the 
other thrusteth him in the breast with his closed fist to 
keep him off, which they call butting. 

[In hurling to the country] two or three, or more 
parishes agree to hurl against two or three other parishes. 
The matches are usually made by gentlemen, and their 
goales are either those gentlemen's houses, or some towns 
or villages three or four miles asunder, of which either side 
maketh choice after the nearnesse of their dwellings ; when 
they meet there is neyther comparing of numbers nor 
matching of men, but a silver ball is cast up, and that 
company which can catch and carry it by force or slight to 
the place assigned, gaineth the ball and the victory. Such 
as see where the ball is played give notice, crying " 'Ware 



48 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

east!" " 'Ware west!" as the same is carried. The hurlers take 
their next way over hills, dales, hedges, ditches ; yea, and 
thorow bushes, briars, mires, plashes, and rivers, whatsoever, 
so as you shall sometimes see twenty or thirty lie tugging 
together in the water, scrambling and scratching for the ball. 

29. The Quintain. 

[" Knyghthode and Batayle," early fifteenth-century poem quoted in 
Strtjtt : The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, edited 
by Rev. J. C. Cox, p. 107.] 

Of fight, the disciplyne, and exercise 
Was this. To have a pale or pile upright 
Of mannys hight, thus writeth olde and wise ; 
Therewith a bacheler, or a yong knyght, 
Shal first be taught to stonde and lerne to fight. 
And fanne a doubil wight, tak him his shelde 
Of doubil wight, a mace of tre to welde. 

This fanne and mace whiche either doubil wight, 
Of shelde, and swayed in conflicte, or bataile, 
Shal exercise as well swordmen, as knyghtes. 
And noe man, as they sayn, is seyn prevaile, 
In field, or in castell, thoughe he assayle, 
That with the pile, nathe first grete exercise, 
Thus writeth Werrouris olde and wyse. 

Have eche his pile or pale upfixed fast, 
And as it were uppon his mortal foe ; 
With mightyness and weapon most be cast 
To fight stronge, that he ne skape hym fro. 
On hym with shield, and sword avised so, 
That thou be cloos, and preste thy foe to smyte, 
Lest of thyne own dethe thou be to wite. 

Empeche 1 his head, his face, have at his gorge, 
Beare at the breste, or sperne him one the side. 
With myghte knyghtly poost 2 , ene as Seynt George 
1 Attack. 2 Power. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 49 

Lepe o thy foe ; looke if he dare abide : 
Will he not flee ? wounde him ; make woundis wide, 
Hew of his honde, his legge, his theyhs, his armys, 
It is the Turk, though he be sleyn noon harm is. 

30. Cricket. 

[Stkutt : The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, edited 
by Rev. J. C. Cox, p. 100.] 

There is an interesting reference to this early form of 
cricket about 1420. John Combe of Quidhampton was one 
of the witnesses examined by the commissioners appointed 
by the Pope to inquire into the alleged miracles at the 
tomb of Bishop Osmund, of Salisbury, when a petition had 
been presented for that prelate's canonisation, Combe 
testified that, ten years before, his neighbours were playing 
at ball with great clubs (Indent es ad pilam cum baculis magnis) 
in the village of Bemerton, when they quarrelled over the 
game. The witness interposed and tried to make peace, 
when one of the players struck him with his club, breaking 
his head and right shoulder, so that he lay sick and unable 
to hear or to see or to move head or arm for more than 
three months. Eventually he was healed by making an 
offering of his head and shoulders in wax, marked with 
wounds similar to his own, at the tomb of the bishop, 
accompanied by prayers. 

31. Bull Running at Tutbury. 

["Ballad of Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Yalor, and Marriage," 
English and Scottish Popular Ballads, edited by F. J. Child. 
Vol. iii., p. 217. The Robin Hood cycle of ballads forms one of 
the largest in this book, and they are full of references to the 
amusements and customs of the Middle Ages. ] 

This battle was fought near to Tutbury town, 
When the bagpipes bated the bull ; 
I am King of the fidlers, and sware 'tis a truth, 
And I call him that doubts it a gull. 

4 



50 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

For I saw them fighting, and fidld the while, 
And Clorinda sung, Hey derry down ! 
The bumpkins are beaten, put up thy sword, Bob, 
And now let's dance into the town. 

Before we came to it, we heard a strange shouting, 
And all that were in it lookd madly ; 
For some were a bull -back, some dancing a morris. 
And some singing Arthur-a-Bradly. 

32. Quarter-Staff. 

["Ballad of Robin Hood and the Tanner," English and Scottish 
Popular Ballads, edited by F. J. Child. Vol. iii., p. 138.] 

Then Robin he unbuckled his belt 
And laid down his bow so long ; 
He took up a staff of another oke graff, 
That was both stiff and strong. 

* * * * * 
" But let me measure," said Jolly Robin, 

" Before we begin our fray ; 

For I'll not have mine to be longer than thine, 

For that will be counted foul play." 

" I pass not for length," bold Arthur replied, 
" My staff is of oke so free ; 
Eight foot and a half it will knock down a calf, 
And I hope it will knock down thee." 

Then Robin could no longer forbear, 
He gave him such a knock, 
Quickly and soon the blood came down 
Before it was ten o'clock. 

* * # * * 
About and about and about they went, 
Like two wild boars in a chase, 
Striving to aim each other to maim 

Leg, arm, or any other place. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 51 

And knock for knock they hastily dealt, 
Which held for two hours and more ; 
That all the wood rang at every bang 
They ply'd their work so sore. 

33. Lord of Misrule. 

[The Diary of Henry Machyn. Camden Society, 1848, p. 13. The 
Lord of Misrule may be best described as Master of the Christmas 
revels. Leland calls him the Abbot of Misrule, and in Scotland 
he was known as the Abbot of Unreason. He is believed to have 
been peculiar to these islands. 

1551. The iiij day of Januarii was mad a grett skaffold 

[in Ch] epe hard by the crosse, agaynst the kynges lord of 

myss[rule] cumyng from Grenwyche ; and landyd at Towre 

warff, [and with] hym yonge knyghts and gentyllmen a 

gret nombur on [horseb]ake sum in gownes and cotes and 

chynes x abowt ther nekes, every man havyng a balderyke 

of yelow and grene abowt ther nekes, and on the Towre 

hyll ther they [went in] order, furst a standard of yelow 

and grene sylke with Sant Gorge, and then gounes and 

skuybes, 2 and trompets and bagespipes, and drousselars 3 and 

flutes, and then a gret compeny all in yelow and gren, and 

docturs declaryng my lord grett, and then the mores danse 

dansyng with a tabret, 4 and afor xx of ys consell on hors- 

bake in gownes of chanabulle 5 lynyd with blue taffata and 

capes 6 of the sam, lyke sage [men]; then cam my lord 

with a gowne of gold furyd with fur of the goodlyest 

collers 7 as ever youe saw, and then ys . . . . and after 

cam a alff a hundred in red and wyht, tallmen [of] the 

gard, with hods of the sam coler, and cam in to the cete ; 

and after cam a carte, the whyche cared the pelere, 8 the 

a . . . ., [the] jubett, 9 the stokes, and at the crose in Chepe 

a gret brod sfkaffold] for to go up; then cam up the 

trumpeter, the harold, [and the] doctur of the law, and 

1 Chains. 2 Squibs. 3 Erroneous form of drumslader — a drummer 
4 A timbrel. 5 Unknown material. 6 Caps. 

7 Colours. 8 Pillory. 9 Gibbet. 



52 SPOETS AND PASTIMES 

ther was a proclamasyon mad of my lord['s] progeny, 1 and 
of ys gret howshold that he [kept,] and of ys dyngnyte ; 
and there was a hoghed of wyne [at] the skaffold, and ther 
my lord dranke, and ys consell, and [had] the hed smyttyn 
owt that every body mytht drynke, and [money'?] cast 
abowt them, and after my lord['s] grase rod unto my lord 
mer 2 and alle ys men to dener, for ther was dener as youe 
have sene 3 ; and after he toke his hers, 4 and rod to my lord 
Tresorer at Frer Austens, and so to Bysshopgate, and so to 
Towre warn , and toke barge to Grenwyche. 

34. King of Christmas. 

[Selected Records of the City of Norwich. Vol. i., p. 345. This 
incident in the history of Norwich has been called ' ' Gladman's 
Insurrection." Norwich was in a very excited condition owing 
to a quarrel with the neighbouring dignitaries of the Church. 
Gladman's excuse that he was merely masquerading in the 
manner usual of Shrove Tuesday is weak, when we consider that 
the date of the procession was January.]" 

1448. And wher that it was so that on John Gladman 
of Norwich which was ever and at this oure is a man of sad 
disposicion and true and fethf ul to G-od and to the King, of 
disporte as is and ever hath ben accustomed in ony Cite or 
Burgh thrugh al this reame on fastyngong tuesday B made 
a disporte w* his neighburghs having his hors trapped with 
tyneseyle and otherwyse dysgysyn things crowned as King 
of Kristmesse in token that all merthe shuld end with ye 
twelve monthes of ye yer, 6 afore hym eche moneth disgysd 
after ye seson yerof, and Lenten cladde in white with redde 
herrings skinnes and his hors trapped with oyster shelles 
after him in token y fc sadnesse and abstinence of merth 
shulde followe and an holy tyme ; and so rode in diverse 

1 /. 6., genealogy. 2 Mayor. 3 I. e. , as great a dinner. 

4 Horse. 6 Shrove Tuesday. 

6 March was considered to be the first month of the year. Glad- 
man's procession took place on January 24 or 25, which rather con- 
fuses this passage. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 53 

stretes of ye Cite w* other peple w* hym disgysed making 
merthe and disporte and pleyes. 

35. Easter Day. 

[Baiinaby Googe, in his adaptation of Naogeorgus, as quoted by 
Brand: Popular Antiquities, vol. i., p. 164. Bonn's Library. 
Thomas Kirchraeyer or Naogeorgus (1511-1563) was the author of 
anti-Papist invective in verse entitled Regni Pajnstici.] 

At midnight then with carefull minde they up to mattens 

ries, 
The Clarke doth come, and after him, the Priest with 

staring eies. 
At midnight strait, not tarying till the daylight doe appeere, 
Some gettes in flesh, and, glutton lyke, they feede upon 

their cheere. 
They rost their flesh, and custardes great, and egges and 

radish store, 
And trifles, clouted creame, and cheese, and whatsoever 

more 
At first they list to eate, they bring into the temple straight, 
That so the Priest may halow them with wordes of 

wond'rous waight. 
The friers besides, and pelting 1 priests, from house to house 

do roame, 
Eecey ving gaine of every man that this will have at home. 
Some raddish rootes this day doe take before all other meate, 
Against the quartan ague, and such other sicknesse great. 
Straight after this into the fieldes they walke to take the 

viewe, 
And to their woonted life they fall, and bid the reast adewe. 

36. Coronation of Queen Mary. 

[Diary of Henry Machyn. Camden Society, 1848, p. 45.] 
1553. The xxx day of September the Qwuyenps] grace 
cam from the Towre thrugh London, rydyng in a charet 
1 Mean or contemptible. 



54 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

gorgusly be-sene unto Westmynster; by the way at 
Fanche-chyrche a goodly pagant, with iiij grett gyants, 
and with goodly speches, the geneways 1 mad yt; at 
Grache-chyrche a-nodur goodly pajant of esterlyngs 2 
makyng; and at Ledyne-hall was nodur pagant hangyd 
with cloth of gold, and the goodly st playng with all 
maner of musyssoners, and. ther was on 3 blohyng of a 
trumpet all the day longe ; at the conduyt in Cornhyll 
a-nodur of the sete 4 ; and [at] the grett condutt a-nodur 
goodly on, 3 and the standard pentyd and gyldyd, and the 
erosse pentyd ; and [at] the lytyll conduyt a goodly 
pagant ; in Powlles chyrche-yerde ij pagants ; and ij 
scaffolds on Powlles stepull with stremars ; and Ludgat 
pentyd; . . . Westmynster chyrche, and ther her grace 
hard masse, and was crounyd a-pon a he 5 stage, and after 
[she was] a-nontyd Qwene, the forst day of October. 
[When all] was don, her grace cam to Westmynster hall 
. . . yt was iiij of the cloke or she whent to dener [or 
pa]st ; and then the duke of NorfToke rod up and done the 
hall, my lord the yerle of Darbe he 5 constabull, the yerle 
of Arundell he boteler, and my lord of Borgane 6 cheyff 
larderer, master Dymmoke the qwyen['s] champyon ; and 
ther was [great me] lode ; and the erle of Devonshyre bare 
the sword, and the'yerle of Westmorland bare the cape 7 of 
mantenans, and the erle of Shrowsbery bare the crowne, 
and the duke of Norffolke [was earl] marshall, and the 
yerle of Arundell lord stuard, and the erle of Surray was 
doer under the duke ys grandshyr, and the erle of Woseter 
was her grace['s] carver that day at dener, my lord 
Wyndsore was [blank] ; and at the end of the tabull dynyd 
my lade Elisabeth and my lade Anne of Cleyff ; 8 and so yt 
was candy 11-lyght or her grace or she had dynyd, and so 
[anon] her grace toke barge. 

1 Genoese. 2 Easterling merchants. 3 One. 

4 City. 6 High. 6 Abergavenny. 7 Cap. 8 Cleves. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 55 

37. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. 

[The Diary of Henry Machyn, Camden Society, 1848, p'. 186.] 
1558. [The xiv day of January the Queen came in a 
chariot from] the Towre, with all the lordes and ladies [in 
crimson] velvet, and ther horses trapyd with the sam, and 
[trumpeters in] red gownes blohyng, and all the haroldes 
in ther cottes armur, and all the strettes stroyd 1 with 
gravell; and at Grasyus 2 street a goodly pagantt of Kyng 
[Henry] the viij and quen Ane ys wyff and of ther lenege- 
and in Cornelle 3 a-nodur goodly pagantt of Kyng Henry 
and Kyng Edward the vj fcb ; and be-syd Soper lane in 
[Cheap a-]nodur goodly pagantt, and the condyth 4 pentyd ; 
[and] at the lytylle condutt a-nodur goodly pagant of a 
qwyke tre and a ded, and the quen had a boke gyffyn her 
ther ; and ther the recorder of London and the chambur, 
layn delevered unto the quen a purse of gold fulle to the 
waluw of [blank]; and so to the Flett strett to the condyt, 
and ther was a-nodur goodly pagantt of the ij chyrchys ; 
and at Tempylle bare was ij grett gyanttes, the one name 
was Goott-magott 5 a Albaon and the thodur Co[rineus]. 

38. Pageants. 

{The Coventry Leet Booh, Part III., pp. 589-592. E.E.T.S. An 
account of the pageantry performed on the occasion of the wel- 
come to Prince Edward in 1474 will also be found in the Coventry 
Leet Book.] 

Mem. that this ^ere the Wensday the xvii day of 
Octobre anno xiiij° Regis H. vij, prince Arthur, the ffirst 
begoton son of Kyng Henre the vij th , then beyng of ]?e 
age of xij ^eres and more, cam first to Couentre and there 
lay in ]> e priory fro Wensday unto f e Munday next suying, 
at which tyme he remoued toward London. Ayenst whos 
corny ng was }>e Sponstrete^ate garnysshed with the ix 
worthy[s], and Kyng Arthur then havyng thus spech, as 
f oloweth : — 

1 Strewed. 2 Gracechurch. 3 Cornhill. 4 Conduit. 5 Gogmagog. 



56 SPOKTS AND PASTIMES 

[King Arthur.] Hayle, pry nee roiall, most amyable in sight ! 
Whom the Court eternall, thurgh prudent gouernaunce, 

Hath chosen to be egall ons to me in myght, 

To sprede our name, Arthur, and actes to auaunce, 
And of meanys victorious to have such habundaunce, 

That no fals treitour, ne cruell tirrant, 

Shall in eny wyse make profer to your lande. 

And rebelles all falce quarels schall eschewe, 

Thurgh fe fere of Pallas, that favoureth your lynage 

And all outward Enmyes laboreth to subdue, 

To make them to do to ye we as to me dyd homage. 
Welcome therfore, the solace and comfort of my olde age, 

Prince pereless, Arthur, I come of noble progeny, 

To me and to youre Chambre with all pis hole companye ! 

And at the turnyng into pe Croschepyng before Maister 
Thrumpton's durre, stode pe barkers paiant 1 well apparell, 
in which was the Queue of Fortune with dyuers other 
virgyns, which quene has pis spech folowyng : — 

[Queen of Fortune.] I am dame Fortune, quene called full 
expedient 
To Emprours and princes, prelates, with other moo 

As Cesar, Hectour, and Fabius, most excellent, 
Scipio, exalted Nausica, and Emilianus also, 
Valerius, also Marchus, with sapient Cicero, 

E 2 and noble men, breuely the truth to conclude, all 

My favour verily had, as story s maketh rehersall ; 

With-oute whom, sithen non playnly can prospere, 

That in pis muitable lyfe as now procedyng, 
I am come thurgh love. Trust me intiere 

To be with yewe and yours Evirmore enduryng, 
Prynce, most unto my pleasure of all pat ar nowe 
reynyng ; 
Wherfore, my nowne hert and best beloved treasure, 
Welcome to pis youre Chaumbre of whom ye be inheriture. 
1 Pageant. 2 Ay. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 57 

And the Crosse in the Croschepyng was garnysshed, and 
wyne there rennyng, and angels sensyng and syngyng, 
with Orgayns and othere Melody etc. And at ]>e Cundyt, 
ther was seynt G-eorge kyllyng the dragon, and seynt 
George had this speche folowyng : — 

[Saint George.] most soueraign lorde, he dyvyne 
provision to be 

The ruler of cruell Mars and Kyng Insuperable ! 
Ye reioyce my corage, trustyng hit to se, 

That named am George, your patron fauorable ; 

To whom ye ar and euer shall be so acceptable, 
That in felde, or Cite, where-so-ever ye rayne 
Shall I neuer fayle ye we, thus is my purpose playn. 

To protect your magnyficence myself I shall endevour, 
In all thynges that your highnes shall concerne, 

More tenderly then I ^it did euer ; 

Kyng, duke, yerle, lorde, or also berne, 1 

As ye be myn assistence in processe shall lerne, 

Which thurgh your vertue, most amorous knyght, 

I owe to your presence be due and very right. 

Like-wyse as Jns lady be grace I defended, 
That thurgh myschaunce chosen was to dye, 

ffro this foule serpent whom I sore wonded ; 
So ye in distresse preserve ever woll I 
ffro all parell and wyked veleny, 

That shuld your noble persone in eny wyse distrayn, 

Which welcome is to ]>is your Chambre and to me right 
fayn. 

And this balet was song at ]?e Crosse : 

Viuat le prynce Arthur. 
Byall prince Arthur, \ 
Welcome nowe, tresur, l to }>is your cite ! 
With all oure hole Cur, 2 j 

1 Baron. 2 Heart. 



to theire extollence. 



58 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

Sithen in vertue dere, ] 

Lorde, ye haue no pere, has all we may see. 

Of your age tendre, j 

Cunyng requyred, ] 

All hath contriued, [-your intelligence. 

And so receyued — J 

That Yngland, all playn, 

May nowe be right fayn 

Ye we long to remayn, 

Syng we fer foil all ; ] 

Also let us call [-that lie yewe defend ! 

To God Immortall ) 

In this breve beyng j 

Youre astate supporting, I to your lyfes yend ! 

And vertue ay spredyng, ) 

39. Marriage Festivities. 

[Diary of Henry Machyn. Camden Society, 1848, p. 82.] 

1555. The xij of Feybruary was my lord Strange mared 
to the lade of Cumberland the Yerle of Cumberland 
doyctur ; and after a grett dener, and justes, and after 
tornay on horsbake with sword es, and after soper Jubethe 
cane, a play, 1 with torch-lyght and eressett lyghtes, Lx 
cressets and C of torchys, and a maske, and a bankett. 

40. Festival. 

[Diary of Henry Machyn, Camden Society, 1848, p. 191.] 

1559. The xxj of Marche the quen('s) master cokes and 

odur her ofFesers, and at Mylle-end ther they dynyd, [with] 

all maner of mett and drynke ; and ther was all maner of 

artelere, as drumes, flutes, trum petes, gones, mores 2 pykes, 

halbardes, to the nomber of v C ; the gonners in shurtes 

1 Juego de Canas, or tilting with canes, a sport introduced by the 
Spaniards. 2 Moorish. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 59 

of may lie and ... pykes in bryglit harnes, and mony 
swardes and v grett pesses of gones and shot in ... . the 
wyche did myche hurt unto glass wy [ndows ;] and cam a 
gret gyant danssying, and after [that a] mores dansse 
dansyng, and gones and mor[es pikes] ; and after earn a 
cart with a grett wyth x and ij [bears] with-in the cartt, and 
be-syd whent a gret ... of grett mastes ; 2 and then cam 
the master cokes rydyng in cottes in brodere, and chynes 
of gold, and mony of the quen('s) servandes in ther levery, 
to the cowrt, and ther they shott ther pesses, and with-in 
the parke was ij C chamburs gret and smalle shot, and the 
Quen('s) grace standyn in the galere ; and so evere man 
whent in-to the parke, showhying them in batell ray, 
shutying and playhying at bowt the parke ; and a-for the 
quen was on of bayres 3 was bated, and after the mores 
dansers whent in-to the cowrt, dansyng in mony offeses. 4 

41. Tournaments. 

[Holinshed : Chronicles. 1 

The King, causing lists to be prepared in West Smith - 

field for these champions, [the Bastard of Burgundy and 

Lord Scales] and verie faire and costlie galleries for the 

ladies, was present at this martiall enterprise 5 himselfe. 

The first daie they ran togither diverse courses with sharpe 

speares, and departed with equall honor. The next day 

they turnoied on horsebacke. The lord Scales' horsse had 

on his chamfron, a long sharpe pike of Steele, and as the 

two champions coped togither, the same horsse (whether 

through custome, or by chance) thrust bis pike into the 

nose thrills of the bastard's horsse ; so that for verie paine 

he mounted so high that he fell on the one side with his 

master, and the lord Scales rode round about him with his 

sword in his hand, untill the king commanded the marshall 

1 Whip(?). 2 Mastiffs (?). 

3 Bears. 4 I.e., rooms of the houses, such as the kitchen. 

5 This duel took place in 1467. 



60 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

to helpe up the bastard, which, openlie said, " I can not hold 
me by the clouds, for though my horsse faileth mee, suerlie 
I will not faile my conter companion." The king would 
not suffer them to doo anie more that daie. 

The morrow after, the two noblemen came into the field 
on foot, with two polaxes, and fought valiantlie; but, at 
the last, the point of the polax of the lord Scales happened 
to enter into the sight of the bastarde's lJelme, and by fine 
force might have plucked him on his knees ; the king sud- 
denlie cast downe his warder, and then the marshals them 
severed. The bastard, not content with this chance, and 
trusting on the cunning which he had with the polax, 
required the king, of justice, that he might performe his 
enterprise. The lord Scales refused it not, but the king 
said he would aske counsell; and so, calling to him the 
constable and the marshall, with the Officers of Armes, 
after consultation had, and the lawes of armes rehersed, it 
was declared for a sentence definitive, by the Duke of 
Clarence, then Constable of England, and the Duke of 
Norffolke, then Marshall, that if he would go forwarde with 
his attempted challenge, he must, by the law of armes, be 
delivered to his adversarie in the same state and like 
condition as he stood when he was taken from him. The 
bastard, hearing this judgment, doubted the sequele of the 
matter ; and so relinquished his challenge. 

42. Indoor Games. 

[Misogonus, Act I., Scene 4. Early Plays from the Italian, by R. 
Warwick Bond. 1911. This very disconnected fragment from 
Misogonus has been included here because it gives us a number 
of the games played in taverns in the sixteenth century.] 

Oenophilus : 

lie bene for yon man oth churche and wotte your where 

I had him 

ith alhouse at whipperginnye x as close as a burr. 

1 Whip-her- Jenny. — A game at cards. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 61 



Misogo7ius : 

And why broughtes him not with the, 
Oenophilus : 

I warren t yow I badd him 

and hadd pleade but thie trickes heile come as round 
as a purr. 1 
Sir Johne : 

Here ostiee here ostice I come quater 



Come one Sir John you haue bene in some forsett 2 
my mistrisse sendes in hast your pase yow must mende 
Sir Johne : 

I was so fast in that I coulde not thens gett 

but where is ye gentlewoman y* for me did sende 



Here I haue brought him at your worshipps requeste 
and this be not a right man your selfe be judge. 

Misogonus : 

Welcome Sir John now sure heis a breakinge prist 3 
its pitty by my Chrissondome thou shouldst be such 
a drudge 

Sir Johne : 

Yf your worshipp lack a gamster ame a gamster very 

fayre 
for a pound or tow He kepe yow company by day or by 

night 
at cardes dice or tables 4 or anythinge I will not spare 
to kepe a gentleman company I doe greatly delighte. 

Melissa : 

Now surely my cockeril this was good lucke 
that so honest a copemate 5 were fetched vs to day 
What game master person do yow now most acquynt 
lets have some fine game that came latest vp. 

1 He'll come, for a certainty. 2 They've held you to it. 

3 Meaning uncertain. 4 Backgammon. 5 Comrade. 



62 SPORTS AND PASTIMES 



Sir Johne .* 

I have "many good games madam as ruff, mawe, and 

saint l 
or god a mercy good fello we when aboute goes the cup 

Melissa : 

Nay but Ide rather at the dice have a cast 
haue yow any dice let vs see master fieker 2 

Sir Johne : 

Dice. I have plenty yow shall see them in hast 
heirs even my study, if I hit of good licker 

Misogonus : 

What games can yow play at lets haue those yow vse 

weekly 
we trifle ye tyme let vs sticke to our tacklinge 

Sir Johne : 

tick tack 3 mume chaunce * or novunce 5 come quicly 
. . . hinge 6 any thinge its my dayly f ackling 

Cacwgus : 

nuncle G-ood vncle drawe a carde and thou lovest m^ 
drawe what thou wilt for a penney ites thy brother. 

43. Chess. 

[Chaucer : The Book of the Duchess.'] 

My boldnesse is turned to shame, 
For fals Fortune hath pleyd a game 
Atte ches with me, alias ! the whyle ! 

sjs sjc ^c ■%. 4= 

Atte ches wdth me she gan to pleye ; 

With hir false draughtes 8 divers 

1 Buff or trumpe. — The predecessor of whist. Mawe. — Played wi.li 
a piquet pack of thirty-six cards by two to six players. Saint — i.e. y 
cent.— so called because 100 up was the game. 2 Vicar. 

3 Tick-tack. — A kind of backgammon, played with men and pegs. 

4 A card or dice game, at which silence was essential. 

5 Novum was played by five or six, the two chief throws being 
nine or five. 

6 Perhaps another game. 7 I.e., it's a knave. 8 Moves. 



IN THE MIDDLE AGES 63 

She stol on me, and took my fers. 1 
And when I saw my fers aweye, 
Alas ! I couthe no lenger pleye, 
But seyde, " farwel, swete, y-wis, 
. And farwel al that ever ther is !" 

... Therwith Fortune seyde " chek here !" 

i And " mate !" in mid pointe of the chekkere 

With a poune erraunt, 2 alius ! 
Ful craftier to pley she was 
Than Athalus, 3 that made the game 
First of the ches : so was his name. 
But god would I had ones or twyes 
Y-koud and knowe the Ieupardyes 4 
That coude the Grek Pithagores i 5 
I shulde have pleyd the bet at ches, 
And kept my fers the bet therby ; 
And thogh wherto ? for trewely 
I hold that wish not worth a stree ! 
Hit had be never the bet for me. 

44. Chess, 

-obeet de Brunne's Hwndlyng Synne, E.E.T.S., vol. L, p. 37-38.] 

gyf j>ou euer with iogeloure, 

With hasadoure or with rotoure 6 

Hauntyst tauerne, or wete to any pere 7 

To pley at J> e ches or at J?e tablere, 

Specyaly before ]>e noun 

When goddys seruyse owy]> to be doun, 

Hyt ys a3ens J>e comaundment 

And holy cherches asent. 

1 The queen. The word is a Persian one, meaning king's chief 
counsellor or general. 2 An ignominious way of losing a game. 

3 Attalus Philometor, King of Pergamus. 

4 Problems, critical positions. 

5 Pythagoras considered that all things were founded upon 
americal relations. 

6 Player on the rote, an instrument probably like the violin. 

7 Obscure. 



64 SPORTS IN THE MIDDLE AGES 

45. Cheating practised by Two Gamblers acting 
in Collusion. 

[Records of the Borough of Nottingham , vol. ii., pp. 133-5. 
Translation. 1432-3, February 5.] 

The same Henry Bonnington in his own proper person 
complains of the same John Balthwaite Junior, of Notting- 
ham, of a plea and deceit. And whereupon he says that 
whereas the aforesaid John, at the feast of Saint Stephen, 
in the 7th year of the present King, at Nottingham, played 
at tables with the aforesaid Henry under this condition 
previously made, that if the said Henry would permit the 
said John to win the said Henry's money as a means of 
winning the money of other players, the same John would 
give back again to the said Henry his money so lost to the 
said John together with half of his profit that he should 
have so won from the others ; by reason of which agree- 
ment the said John, at the aforesaid day, year and place, 
won from divers men contending and playing with him 
what, together with 20d. of the said Henry's amounts to 
sum of 9s., &c. ; the aforesaid John, although he had been 
often requested, has not yet paid to the aforesaid Henry 
3s. 8d. for half of his winnings together with 20d. of the 
said Henry's own money, but he refused, and still does 
refuse to pay him, in deceit and to the grievous damage of 
the said Henry : whereby he says that he is injured &c, 
to the value of 6s. 8d ; and therefore he brings suit. And 
the aforesaid John in his own proper person comes, and 
defends the force &c, and he says that he is in no wise 
guilty thereof as, &c. ; and thus he is ready, &c. ; and the 
said Henry does the like &c. Wherefore an inquest &c. 

It is said by the Mayor, &c. that this plea cannot be 
maintained by law, &c. Therefore the said Henry is in 
mercy for his unjust plaint, &c. 

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